Since 2000, Al-Shifa clinic has served the mostly Latino residents of the town of Muscoy which is located near San Bernardino. The clinic has an open-door policy regardless of race, religion or socio-economic status. “Shifa” is the Arabic word for cure and this all-volunteer, free clinic serves the underinsured community based on the teachings of Islam ― compassion for the sick and service to the needy.
The clinic primarily services low-income and uninsured patients. About a third of the residents live below the poverty line. 60% of Al-Shifa clients speak only Spanish, so most of the medical staff is bilingual and can translate for doctors who don’t speak Spanish.
In this op-ed for Huffington Post, clinic manager, Muhammad Safwatullah, talks about his experiences volunteering at the clinic and says that the entire staff (volunteer doctors, board members, donors) believes that “everyone has a right to health care and the right to live a healthy life.”
Mr. Safwatullah talks about his personal background and experiences as a volunteer: “I got my medical degree in Pakistan, and I’m now in the process of obtaining a residency program. I’ve lived in Riverside for eight years, and several years ago, I started at the clinic as a volunteer. I was looking for a place where I could get a feel for how medical care works in the U.S. I heard about this clinic from my family doctor. I like the way everyone helps one another ― the spirit of service here goes to the heart of what good medicine is about.”