By: Sayeef Mirza
This past Saturday, November 7, students from the University of South Florida (USF) and community partners combined their efforts and expertise to conduct a health fair for the Tampa Bay Community. This was the 3rd annual Tampa Health Day.
Tampa Health Day began and still is a humble effort fully coordinated by USF graduate students. USF Health has always been about uniting the different health professions toward the common cause of health care and healing. Whether funded by churches or hospitals, health professional students are encouraged to dedicate time toward these fairs all over the community, for schools, for events, for even migrant workers. The Muslim Student Doctor Network has been at the forefront of organizing a similar public health outreach program to benefit not only the Muslims but also the non-Muslims in the neighborhood. By working with the Red Crescent Clinic, we were able to invite the community inside the doors of the largest mosque in Florida to attend this health fair.
This health fair was about giving out free services to the community. Patients were able to get their basic vitals checked, meet with medical students about their concerns, learn about preventative health care, and, finally, consult with licensed Muslim physicians. Many patients were recommended to follow-up at the Red Crescent Clinic for further care. Flu shots, optometry, and other resources were also provided.
These primary care services are basic needs of any citizen. But with the high cost of health care, many people are forced to forego simple preventative measures. Speaking to a doctor is considered such a valuable thing, both financially and socially. These health fairs serve as a means of increasing accessibility and feasibility. They also allow younger students to shadow and volunteer---to become a part of a greater cause.
That is the best da'wah---service to others. Actions speak for themselves. And, as medical, dental, pharmacy, nursing, and undergraduate students, we are the future of health care. As Muslims, we are the future of Islam in America. We hope to intertwine our beliefs with our careers so that we live and breathe the essence of our faith within our workplace. This is the inspiration we garner to coordinate these events. This is the goal we hope to achieve. This is Tampa Health Day, and we hope to continue to benefit many more members of the Tampa Bay community in the years to come, in sha Allah.