While SAMS has worked tirelessly to address humanitarian needs on an international scale, low-income and refugee communities across the United States face financial, linguistic, and cultural barriers to accessing quality and affordable care. In 2017, SAMS recognized these needs and launched SAMS Community Outreach (SCO) programming as a result. With its extensive network of medical professionals across the country, SAMS is well-positioned to expand its reach locally, working to bring free quality health care to its own communities.
Since its inception, SCO has provided medical care to communities impacted by hurricanes in Houston, Puerto Rico, and Florida, opened a free clinic in the Chicago area, and organized multiple health fairs across the country.
Across the United States, SCO is committed to reducing barriers to healthcare by developing and utilizing high-quality, culturally appropriate, sustainable models of free healthcare. SCO believes effective health outreach thrives by activating local chapters to meet their own communities’ needs. Therefore, SCO continues to expand its impact within the U.S. and territories by facilitating local SAMS chapters to plan, implement, and evaluate the following models of care:
- Disaster Relief: Over the past couple of years, SAMS has worked with local communities affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Michael to bring healthcare to areas that were not receiving aid from municipalities and other relief organizations. SCO revisited Houston a year after Hurricane Harvey and hosted a health fair and rebuild day in the same community SAMS had worked with during the storm.
- Medical Missions: SCO is consistently surveying rural communities and those recovering from disasters to identify gaps in healthcare access that we intend to fill through regular medical missions and specialty services in these areas.
- Health Fairs: SCO works with local chapters to facilitate and organize health fair events, in which community members receive free health screenings and wellness checks, health education, school physicals, and other specific services appropriate for each community. Take a look at our Health Fair Guide here.
- Free Clinics: SCO is partnering with local health organizations to launch free clinics to ensure quality care for individuals facing economic hardships. SAMS launched its first-ever free specialty clinic in Willowbrook, IL in 2019, providing free pulmonology, cardiology, endocrinology, and gynecology services for low-income, uninsured beneficiaries.
- Development of Sustainable Health Models: SCO is exploring novel sustainable health models including telemedicine for rural areas, home visits for readmission prevention, and other innovative programs. SCO is identifying potential free clinic partnerships in various regions of the country. For those interested in getting involved in SCO, please contact us at [email protected]
SCO Committee Members
Dr. Maher Azzouz, Gastroenterology and Hematology
Dr. Abdulrazak Alchakaki, Pulmonology and Critical Care Medicine
Dr. Abdulfatah Elshaar, Internal Medicine
Omar Tarazi, Attorney
Safeya Shah, Occupational Therapy
Dr. Tarek Zetoune, Pediatrics/ Palliative Care and Hospice
Michael Knudsen, SAMS Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator