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Indian Medical Association Announces Free Health Clinic Partnership

Press Release

WALTHAM, MA – AUGUST 30, 2003 – Celebrating the year of its Silver Anniversary, the Indian Medical Association of New England (IMANE) announced its recent partnership with the Waltham Area Free Health Center (WAFHC) to provide its help in delivering much-needed free health services to patients lacking health insurance in the greater Waltham region.

Dr. Sahdev Passey, President of IMANE for 2003, remarked on his excitement and eagerness to move forward with the project, "IMANE has been developing a renewed sense of purpose as we commemorate our 25th anniversary this year. Greater involvement with charitable activities, particularly a free health clinic, is an integral part of our new mission. Our organization seeks to give something back to the communities where our physician members have founded their homes and practices."

"IMANE has been in the vanguard as an Indian-American physicians' organization since its inception in 1978,” exclaimed Dr. Onaly Kapasi, IMANE President-Elect for 2004, who has been active for many years with IMANE and with its national counterpart, AAPI. “Our free health clinic project and other community services continue to demonstrate IMANE's foresightedness, leadership, and commitment to the will of its members." Dr. Kapasi is also a co-sponsor of the AAPI Free Clinic in the Himalayan town of Mandi that is serving the indigent community since the past 12 years.

The Waltham Area Free Health Center operates every Monday evening from 6 to 8 PM in the basement of Immanuel United Methodist Church at 545 Moody Street. IMANE’s involvement commits a strong base of physician volunteers, a referral system for specialist consultations, and help with administrative and financial issues.

“The Waltham Area Free Health Center allows me to [give something back to the community],” noted Dr. Richard Daly, Medical Director of the WAFHC, who also has a growing Family Medicine practice nearby. “Some [of our patients] are immigrants from countries like Guatemala, Uganda, and Canada. We treat people of different socioeconomic levels - from the homeless, to working class, to suburban families that don't have enough insurance. Our patients’ needs are varied and we do our best to treat their acute illnesses as well as chronic medical conditions. I am very excited about our affiliation with IMANE. This should greatly improve our ability to care for Waltham's uninsured residents. I look forward to working with all of [the IMANE volunteers].”

Dr. Anup Singh, immediate Past-President of IMANE for 2002, has been leading the charge for the free clinic project. He observed, "IMANE members have indicated their strong support for this project, with a good number of volunteers already assembled. Moreover, the generosity of our physician members and sponsor organizations has enabled us to seed a charitable trust which will allow us to provide structural and clinical resources to the Waltham Center."

"We have developed this collaboration deliberately over the past 18 months in order to ensure that it is the right opportunity and strategy for an organization like ours to be following,” commented Dr. Apurv Gupta, Treasurer of IMANE for 2002 and 2003, who has been organizing some of the operational details of the effort. ”The Waltham Center is providing a much needed service to the community, yet has been continually facing organizational barriers. The IMANE team felt that we could offer tangible clinical and administrative services to support the effort, and thereby make a real difference in the community."

Gail Cormier, President of the Board of Trustees, Immanuel United Methodist Church, the institution that sponsors the Waltham Area Free Health Center, concluded, “ ... we are delighted that IMANE members are willing to volunteer their time and talents to the Center ... The closing of Waltham Hospital is likely to increase the scope of services offered by the Center and [increase demands on] staff members to meet those needs ... we welcome IMANE's participation ...’’

Physicians or allied health workers seeking to volunteer their time or donate medical supplies are encouraged to call Betty Rots (#) or Apurv Gupta (617-504-7382).

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