The Muslim Community Center for Human Services (MCCHS) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization founded in 1995 to meet the medical and social service needs of more than 100,000 underserved immigrants from South-East Asia, the Middle-East, and Africa that resides in the Dallas/ Fort Worth Metroplex. The organization began by providing health fairs, health, and social services informational seminars and a 24-hour Helpline in response to issues faced by persons that were not American born, especially first generation immigrants and refugees. In 1998, MCCHS opened its Al-Shifa Clinic to provide free, non-emergency medical services to indigent patients with no health insurance. MCCHS has grown over the past decade from serving the needs of its initial target group to offering a continuum of medical and social services to diverse populations of underserved persons from multiple backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures and religions. MCCHS currently defines its target group as 1) persons that are underserved due to barriers resulting from culture or language differences (particularly Asian, Middle Eastern and African immigrants) and 2) persons that are uninsured or underinsured regardless of race, religion or residence. MCCHS continues its original services — which have been expanded to include domestic violence intervention services, healthy marriage initiatives, and health education programs.
Role in the Community
Medical Services: MCCHS’ Al-Shifa Clinic is a charity care medical clinic that provides non-emergency services to uninsured and underinsured patients. Individuals who present for emergency services are referred to acute care medical centers nearest to their home. A team of physician volunteers and a part-time physician provide medical services to patients at the Al-Shifa Clinic. Patients access services through word of mouth from family members or community residents; through formal partnerships and referral linkages with other Tarrant County service providers; or as walk-ins resulting from MCCHS’ extensive outreach and awareness activities. The clinic provides diagnostic laboratory services for indigent patients at a discounted rate and accesses thousands of dollars of donated medications to distribute as needed to patients free of charge. One hundred percent (100%) of clinic patients were low income or had no insurance.
Dental Care: The Dental Clinic opened to provide general dentistry services. These services include x-ray, cleaning, filling, and extractions. A volunteer dentist and a volunteer dental hygienist comprise the clinic staff.
Mental Health Services: The Clinic is staffed by the volunteer services of a licensed psychiatrist and counselors. MCCHS offers treatment to a variety of patients with mental health problems. Incidents of mental health issues are high among immigrants and there are very few charitable clinics offering mental health services. MCCHS is one of the few clinics to offer these services. The majority of patients seen in our clinic are suffering from depression and stress related anxiety. Patients with more serious mental disorders are referred to local public mental health clinics for more appropriate treatment therapies.
Family Social Services: MCCHS offers crisis intervention, appointment scheduling, information, or referrals for services. This year as in previous years, most calls received were related to domestic/family violence. In addition to fielding calls to discuss information about available services, MCCHS provides immediate assistance to victims of domestic violence and child abuse. MCCHS’ social workers and social work interns provide individual and family counseling to address mental health issues and marital and family problems associated with immigrant families trying to cope with differing customs, cultures, and laws.
Community Education & Awareness: MCCHS organizes a large and small Health Fair each year featuring special events such as screenings for high blood pressure, diabetes, breast cancer, eye problems and dental concerns. MCCHS Health Fairs are at various locations such as religious centers, schools and local houses of worship; these larger events benefit from 300–400 individuals each year. Uninsured health fair participants who are screened and whose lab work results reveal abnormal findings are referred to our MCCHS Al-Shifa free clinic for follow-up; those with insurance are provided with a list of area clinics.
MCCHS presents Educational seminars on a variety of health-related subjects including the effects of smoking on health status, chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and stroke prevention, recognition and intervention. Special programs are organized for senior citizens to receive health screenings and education on memory disturbance, nutrition challenges, and prostate cancer.
MCCHS provides a Breast Cancer Awareness Program throughout the year which includes cancer risk awareness education and prevention seminars made possible by a grant from the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Through collaboration with the Harris Methodist Mobile Unit and Moncrief Cancer Resource Center of Fort Worth women are referred for and provided with free mammograms. During 2015 494 women attended breast cancer educational sessions. Twenty-two women received free mammography diagnostic screening services in 2015. MCCHS also provides marital enrichment seminars to married or engaged persons.
MCCHS offers Psychoeducational groups on a variety of subjects including the depression, domestic violence, and women’s groups.
Foster Parent Program: MCCHS Foster Parent Program appeals the residents of DFW area to come forward and become registered parents. Given the laws and organizational structure of these government agencies, we are in desperate need of Muslim families to become their foster parents. MCCHS uses partnering agencies to provide training and licensing to foster parents.