Ibn Sina Adds New Clinic in Network of Community Health Services

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Members of the Board of Directors of the Ibn Sina Foundation with Texas Governor Rick Perry as he cuts the ribbon to formally open the newest clinic at 5102 N. Shepherd and Pinemont on Monday, January 12.

By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON: Braving the frigid temperatures this past Monday morning, January 12, were the students of the St. Pius X High School Band, several flag bearers and a sole cheerleader who kept warm in her skimpy outfit by keeping moving and twirling the baton. They waited, as did others from the welcoming delegation of VIPs and the media, for Governor Rick Perry to arrive, and when he did and alighted in the parking lot, the band struck up a musical tribute. Perry reciprocated by mingling with the band and posing for pictures.

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From left: Dr. Dilawar Ajani, Dr. Aman Jafar, Dr. Aijaz Ali Khowaja, Governor Rick Perry, Dr. Salma Meghani, Nasruddin Rupani, Iqbal Manji, Mohammed Virani, Akber Momin, Nasir Panjwani.

The festivities were part of those arranged for the grand opening of the sixth and latest addition to the network of community clinics that the Ibn Sina Foundation operates within the Houston area. This one is located at the corner of Pinemont at 5012 North Shepherd Drive, almost across from the St. Pius High School, and in a part of the city where it can serve the neediest. It is a transitional area where large homes have occasionally started to pop up amidst the more modest dwellings that dot the landscape.

The Ibn Sina Foundation was established in 2001 by a group of local physicians, business and healthcare professionals to provide low cost preventative and primary care to the large population of underserved people in the greater Houston area. It began with its first landmark clinic at 11226 S. Wilcrest near West Bellfort, next to Savoy Foods, and added more clinics in other parts of the area, serving almost 360,000 since then till now. The Foundation, headed by CEO Dr. Aijaz Ali Khowaja, is always on the lookout to expand its reach and the new clinic represents it latest attempts to provide more indigent care. Apart from some private donor foundations, the clinic has received Federal, State and City funding grants.

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From left: Dr. Aijaz Ali Khowaja (CEO), Governor Rick Perry, Dr. Dilawar Ajani
(Sr. Vice Chairman), Nasruddin Rupani (Chairman).

Gov. Perry’s attendance at the ceremony and performing the ribbon cutting marked a circle back to the time when he performed the same functions at the opening of the first clinic as a young governor 14 years ago. He reminisced how he and his wife Anita had visited the first clinic at that time and thanked the ISF for seeing a need for community healthcare and fixing it. “It was a true grassroots solution to a problem, and in my experience those are the ones that work best. It is the Texas way,” he declared. This was among the last duties Perry will perform before stepping down as Governor on January 20 and passing on the reins to Gov.-Elect Greg Abbott.

After Perry was introduced to the guests inside, he was given a tour of the clinic and then escorted to the enclosed tent in the parking lot behind the clinic for a program that was emceed by Channel 11 KHOU TV anchorwoman Sher-Min Chou. ISF Chairman Nasruddin Rupani welcomed the gathering, and then the ISF then unveiled plans for opening two additional clinics within the next two years, a pediatric clinic and a dental clinic to be funded by donations from Asha and Farid Virani and Farida and Nasruddin Rupani.

City of Houston’s Mayor Pro-Tem, Ed Gonzalez and Housing and Community Development Department, Director Neal Rackleff made brief congratulatory remarks and Sada Cumber introduced Gov. Perry to the podium. In his keynote speech, Perry spoke about the admiration for the work that the ISF was doing and its great benefit to the community. He then helped with giving out some awards of distinction to community members and Dr. Ajani closed out the event.

The North Shepherd clinic started seeing patients the next day and Dr. Khowaja noted that “approximately 15,000 outpatients will be seen this year for both medical and dental care.”  All the clinics are dedicated to serving low-income families in cardiology, pediatrics, gynecology, diagnostic imaging, oncology and ophthalmology.

Since its inception, the Ibn Sina Clinics have provided free or reduced-cost medical, specialty and dental care for uninsured, underinsured or indigent individuals in the greater Houston region including Fort Bend, Jefferson, Brazoria and Galveston Counties. Patients pay a flat $30 fee for Primary Care and no appointments are necessary.

For more information visit www.ibnsinafoundation.org.