Community Health Care for the Greater Good

Collaborating on the work ahead to provide health care at the sixth Ibn Sina Community Clinic were Zeenat Mitha, Aijaz Khowaja, Rick Perry, Dilawar Ajani, Nasruddin Rupani, Shahnaz Ajani and Farida Rupani.

Collaborating on the work ahead to provide health care at the sixth Ibn Sina Community Clinic were Zeenat Mitha, Aijaz Khowaja, Rick Perry, Dilawar Ajani, Nasruddin Rupani, Shahnaz Ajani and Farida Rupani.

By Zeenat Kassam Mitha –

When a community comes together to bring low cost medical and dental care to the uninsured or the underinsured or those who cannot afford health care, it gets acknowledgment from the Governor of Texas. During his last week in office, Governor Rick Perry spent time in Houston opening the sixth Ibn Sina Foundation Community Clinic at 5012 North Shephard Drive. The first clinic opened at 11226 South Wilcrest Drive in Stafford by Governor Perry 13 years ago, and it is now the flagship and main administrative office for all of the clinics.

The Ibn Sina Foundation was established in 2001 by a group of local physicians, business and healthcare professionals to bridge the gap between the health care needs of a rapidly expanding population of underserved families and the ability of existing public institutions to meet their needs. “We wanted to give back to the community, people of all cultures and backgrounds, and what better way to do this than through the gift of health,” said Nasruddin Rupani, Chairman of the Ibn Sina Foundation.

In 2001, Rupani asked me to assist as a volunteer through my professional capacity to get the word out to the Greater Houston community about the clinic. I agreed, because I immediately saw this as a humanitarian effort to assist people who greatly needed healthcare. Over a 45 day time span, I handled public relations, media and communications at a vigorous level, and in the first month of the opening, the clinic was busy from opening to close. I was also asked by Chairman Rupani to co-emcee and handle media as a volunteer at the opening of the Wilcrest location in Stafford, where Governor Perry was the keynote speaker at the clinic. The Ibn Sina Foundation received full support from the mayor, the city council and neighboring businesses and friends of the community. Thirteen years later, that support remains, and I continue to volunteer as I see the immense value these clinics have brought to the community-at-large who otherwise could not afford healthcare.

To date, the Ibn Sina Foundation has six community health clinics that have provided health care to over 39,000 unduplicated individuals through more than 80,0000 patient visits. Since its inception, the Ibn Sina Foundation has provided free or reduced cost medical, specialty and dental care through 450,000 patient visits. “In addition to a comprehensive primary care program, Ibn Sina’s clinics provide specialty care services that include cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment, dental services, cancer prevention and screening, women’s heath including mammograms, pediatric care, diabetes management, nutrition, vision and mental health and counseling programs,” said Dr. Dilawar Ajani, founding board member.

The six clinics are: Wilcrest Medical and Dental Clinic, Wilcrest Pediatric Clinic, Clear Lake Medical and Dental Clinic, Port Arthur Medical and Dental Clinic, South Post Oak Medical and Dental Facility and North Shepherd Clinic. The clinics began with many physicians as volunteers and employed only two part-time staff members in 2001. Currently, in addition to their volunteers, they have more than 100 full-time and part-time staff employees.

Today, Ibn Sina’s annual budget is over $6 million, and 95 percent is generated from small patient fees, state funded programs and a medical discount program for families and small businesses. Five percent of the Ibn Sina Foundation’s revenue is generated from philanthropic resources, such as individuals, organizations and foundations. The patients pay a $30 fee for primary care. Appointments are encouraged, but they are not necessary, and walk-ins are seen on a first-come, first-served basis. They also offer specialty medicine for $35, dental exams (includes panoramic x-rays) for $40 and a “sliding scale” if a patient is unable to pay the standard fee. Ibn Sina Community Clinics do not accept Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance.

“Ibn Sina partners with regional healthcare providers to increase access to care for patients,” said Dr. Aijaz Khowaja, Chief Executive Officer. These include physician groups, local imaging centers, Memorial Hermann Hospital for specialty procedures, West Houston Hospital, Aga Khan Health Services, Angleton Danbury Medical Center, Gateway to Care, Harris County Healthcare Alliance and The Rose. Ibn Sina also partners with many community organizations, volunteer groups and support services. “Ibn Sina Foundation has a great team of volunteers and individual donors,” said Khowaja.

If you, loved ones or friends need health or dental care, visit the Foundation’s website at or one of the community clinics for more information.


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