Local health center holds 5k raising funds for the uninsured

By Ashni Gandhi

Avicenna Community Health Center, a nonprofit organization protecting uninsured and underinsured, hosted a 5K run raising money Sunday morning. The 150 participants included University students, Champaign-Urbana residents and other supporters of the cause.JT

The center was created in Champaign with the intent to help those without insurance in the community. According to Avicenna’s website, their mission is to provide health care, promote health awareness and engage in preventative care through screenings.JT

Sadia Rahman, as the wife of one of the founders, said she has seen the group grow throughout the years.JT

“They started out by meeting in our house in the dining room with a lot of people who had the vision,” Rahman said. “People invest a lot of time, effort, energy. Everyone believes in it and they all just want to help others.”

This healthcare initiative was created in the Champaign area, but also integrates itself with the University. The Avicenna Student Initiative is the Resident Student Organization directly connected to the health center. The group provides volunteers, organizes events and brings awareness to the cause.JT

Co-president of the student initiative, Shahnoor Hussain,JT talked about her interest in the cause. She participated in the 5K during her freshman year. Now a senior, she hopes to make the 5K bigger and better.

“Our goal is to help the clinic with outreach, making sure the University student body is incorporated into this organization as well,” Hussain said.

Rashad Adil, intern at Avicenna and junior in LAS, interned with the center’s nutritionist, Dr. Hany Youssef. Despite not getting paid for his work, he enjoys his time at the center.JT

“I have a lot of interaction with the people who come in,” Adil said. “I have made valuable relationships with a bunch of people that I wouldn’t have made without this opportunity.”

While the center was started by a local muslim community, it has since evolved into an interfaith network with a focus on including students.

For the president of Avicenna, Irfan Ahmad,JT students get an opportunity to work with local physicians, specialists and other healthcare providers.

“It benefits students in a way that they gain valuable experience in preparing for the next stage of their lives,” Ahmad said. “They interact and encounter demographics that they wouldn’t usually see if they were physicians.”

The student body and clinic work hand-in-hand to provide service and raise awareness.

Jeannelle Alford, runner of the 5k and student at the University, shows the importance of helping the campus community by donating to a good cause.

“It is your community while at school, so you should try and do something for it,” said Alford.

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