"I came to UC Davis primarily because the student-run clinics offer an unparalleled, hands-on
opportunity to serve the community while training to become a better, more culturally competent physician,"
says Pegah Pajouhi, a second-year medical student and co-director of the Shifa Community Clinic. As one
of the five student-run clinics affiliated with the UC Davis School of Medicine, Shifa Community Clinic
is a nonprofit medical facility dedicated to serving the diverse, medically uninsured population of the
greater Sacramento area. Every Sunday, the clinic provides basic, as well as specialized, medical services
free-of-charge to patients of many ethnicities and backgrounds. The majority of patients seen at Shifa,
however, are non-English-speaking Muslims, and in order to accommodate the needs of these patients, Shifa
ensures that its volunteers understand and respect the beliefs of its patients and provide translation
services in Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Arabic, and Farsi. Staffed by undergraduate volunteers, first- and second-year
medical students, and volunteer physicians from the UC Davis community, Shifa Clinic additionally serves
as a center for teaching and learning, playing an active role in shaping the physicians of the future.
With over 1,300 patients on file and an additional 300 new patients expected in 2005, Shifa's annual
operating budget is valued at nearly $100,000, supported almost entirely by donations from the Sacramento
community. Special projects at Shifa Clinic include a monthly Women's Health Clinic, providing free gynecological
cancer screening, contraception counseling, STD screening and treatment, and clinical breast exams; a
bi-annual Diabetic Retinopathy Screening staffed by the UC davis Medical Center Department of Ophthalmology
to provide specialized eye exams for Shifa's large diabetic patient population; and extensive community
outreach programs to help educate patients about the importance of preventative health care.
The positive influence of these efforts is evident, not only among the target patient population, but
also among the volunteers at the student-run clinics. According to Shahed Ghoghawala, another second-year
medical student and co-director of Shifa Clinic, "You work with doctors who are the kind of doctors that
I want to be, who are willing to come in and volunteer on weekends, and who are committed to helping underserved
For more information about how to support the student-run clinics at UC Davis, please contact Calvin
Kuo at email@example.com.