It’s New Year eve, and as I reflect back to 2007-09, the conceptual and formative years, I am reminded it has been a long and painstaking, but a satisfying undertaking. I am particularly humbled by the fact that I had the opportunity to lead an outstanding team of visionaries and doers, who took upon themselves to play their role in addressing healthcare disparities in our community i.e. the Champaign County, Illinois.
With more than 2500 patient visits, thousands of volunteer hours, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses, since the community-wide launch of Avicenna Community Health Center (ACHC/Avicenna) in 2010; it has provided high quality culturally competent integrated preventive and curative healthcare services to the uninsured and underinsured residents of Urbana, Champaign, Savoy, Rantoul, Danville, and other neighboring towns. Avicenna- a local Muslim community-led initiative has provided a platform for the interfaith community to come together in addressing one of the biggest social justice causes of our time. Avicenna would not have seen the light of the day if individual donors from the Central Illinois Mosque and Islamic Center, Urbana, community members, partner clinics, non-profits, businesses, and folks in neighboring towns such as Bloomington, Centralia, Danville, Decatur, and Springfield, and even Chicago and beyond had not bought into the vision- the Avicenna vision of serving our neighbors.
Avicenna has had a profound impact on the lives of the people it has touched and continues to do so, even after the full launch of the Affordable Care Act, which had until the end of 2015 registered over 16 million people for marketplace insurance coverage.
What makes Avicenna, a gratifying and inspiring experience for me and those of us in the Board of Directors, is the active and dedicated volunteer involvement of University of Illinois and Parkland College students, including area high schoolers, and community members. As someone wiser than myself said, “compassion is the glue, which holds the society together” and to it I add, if compassion leaves the society, it goes haywire. We are lucky, that we are passionate about what we are doing, and are working with a truly outstanding and talented group of graduate and undergraduate students, and a great compassionate and dedicated team of healthcare providers. They make the Avicenna Dream Team!
While out and about the other day, someone greeted me and told me how outstanding our student volunteers were, and that it is so nice to see such dedication and commitment from students who are already heavily occupied with their academic pursuits. But, this was not the first time, someone had commended our team and our efforts, and I am sure this will not be the last; as we continue to strive to play our role- serving humanity, one person at a time.
Thank you all for your time and support, and I wish you and family a Very Happy New Year!