Founder of Shifa Clinic
@shifaclinic_mtpleasant @theshifaclinic shifaclinics.com
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU'D LIKE PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT YOU?
My motvation in life is to benefit and help others.
WHAT is your message for the community?
I would say to invest your time in the community, give your time and your talents. Whatever you're able to do will be very beneficial. While your work helps others, it really has a lasting impact on you. When you are able to help someone, you are the blessed one. God could have chosen any person to help, but you have been given an opportunity.
What kind of volunteer opportunities do you have? How do people show interest in donating their time?
We are looking for anyone that is willing to donate their time. Since there are so many different services offered, we have a large variety of volunteer jobs to fill. See a list of volunteer opportunities below!
What is the story behind Shifa clinic? how did it start?
Faith. Faith was the main thing pushing me to this path, and in that manner, faith has continued to drive me to give my best to the community. My best happens to be the knowledge and talent that God has given me, and I want to give it to people in a way that I do not get any financial return. So that is how it started - I wanted to give my best to God. The way to serve God is to serve his creation.
Every year we have been fortunate enough to add more services. We have community support, and support from our people who are giving 100%. Shifa Clinic has flourished because of those poeple who have come to give from their hearts. Coming together for a greater cause is the best way to succeed.
do you find that as former patients come into better means that they are coming back to help with your mission?
Yes, definitely.We have even had many students who have completed their rotation here with us coming back after graduation to volunteer their time. Four years ago we had a nurse practitioner who has since graduated and joined a dermatology practice here in Mount Pleasant. She has come back to provide her dermatology service at the clinic, which is something we have not been able to provide prior. Not only that, but she brought many other physicians with her. There are so many other stories like that.
Tell us about your food pantry.
We have partnered with the Lowcountry Food Bank to provide a completely free food pantry to those in need of basic nutritional necessities. Families can come in once a month and take whatever they like. Our pantry has fresh produce, meat, dry goods, dairy, herbs...really everything a family would need to cook healthy meals. These families also have access to our food education programs, giving them the knowledge they need to make health decisions. While we don't ask for proof of income, we expect that the household income is less than $30k annually.
The pantry has been so successful. In May we served 816 people. Now that isn't 816 families, but rather we count the number of people in each family unit so that we are able to determine how many people are actually benefitting and also the volume of groceries we will need to provide. To increase that number of those served, we support our food pantry service with annual turkey giveaways at Thanksgiving, we have Fresh Express events every month where families can come pick up fresh produce at no cost in a farmer's market-style atmosphere, we have back to school giveaways, and other small events throughout the year. See a list of food pantry (and clothes closet) needs below!
It seems like the work that shifa is doing cuts clear across all of the Find Your Fit focus areas, but are there one or two that you are particularly passionate about?
Yes. The area I am most passionate about is Clinical Preventative Services, followed by Access to Care. People need to know where they can access preventative services and there are many of those resources in the state. It's so important to me that people have these services because prevention is better than the cure.
"...prevention is better than the cure."
what do you see as the principal health issue(s) of the populations you serve?
Most of the time, it is diabetes; perhaps though, more than diabetes is pre-diabetes. Second to that would be high blood pressure. Third would be sexually transmitted infections, and that being especially important to address because often those infections can be asymptomatic allowing people to spread the disease unknowingly, so we advocate for testing.
which population(S) in the Tri-county do you believe are most at risk?
The Hispanic population. Eighty percent of our patients served are Hispanic. The lack of health literacy is probably the greatest contributing factor to their need. Often we see that these patients struggle with not only understanding the disease, whether it be diabetes or hypertension, but also the disease processes.
Since we don't have zip code restriction, we see this populations travleing from Goose Creek, Ladson, Walterboro even, and sometimes from Beaufort, to as far up as McClellanville. Every so often we will run a report on zip codes served and some we may not even know where the zip codes are located.
being so engaged in both the region, do you believe that we have any clear opportunities for improving health in our area?
Collaborate with one another because there are so many resources out there that if we all came together on one platform, we could provide the community with a venue to come and see what the strengths of each free clinic are, for example. Our Lady of Mercy has a strong dental program, Dream Center has good neurology programs, and so on. In addition to building awareness, coming together would allow us to build further on our strengths.
Rather than each clinic hosting or attending individual health fairs, what we need is something like a city-wide free clinic fair where all of the free clinics are in the same space. This could be less about promoting individual clinics and more about promoting healthcare.
having mentioned the strengths of other clinics, what do you feel shifa clinic's greatest strengths are?
Number one before we even mention services, is diversity. The volunteers and patients at this clinic are not of one particular faith, ethnic background, economic status. As I always say, there may be people who cannot understand your language but love, respect and care are universal languages. People know your heart.
"...love, respect and care are universal languages."
In terms of services, is gynecology. We don't charge patients for any service whether it's a prenatal visit, routine annual exam, colposcopy, etc. Within our gynecology services we also focus on birth control education and providing various birth control methods. We want every pregnancy to be a planned pregnancy. This goes hand in hand with our ability to offer pediatric care. It is often difficult to find pediatric care free of cost so we are really happy to be able to provide this to the community.
I would also say that we have strength in our diabetes education program. At the end of this year we will be releasing data on our successes in this area.
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Find Your Fit is an interactive, community-driven lifestyle campaign designed to improve the health and well-being of you and the people you hold dear. Healthy Tri-County – a regional initiative to improve health and wellbeing in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties – wants to give you the resources to make an impact in an area of health that is important to you, whether that’s eating healthier or making sure that your family has access to all of the health services they need.