University of Chicago engaging Muslim activists for research on community health

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Dr. Asim Padela, director of Program on Medicine and Religion, director of Initiative on Islam and Medicine, is an emergency medicine physician, health services researcher, and bioethicist whose scholarship focuses on the intersection of minority health and bioethics through the lens of the healthcare experiences of American Muslim patients and health care providers. He is also Associate Professor, Section of Emergency Medicine Faculty, Maclean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. (Photo: uchicago.edu)

The Initiative on Islam and Medicine at the University of Chicago, jointly with UMMA Community Clinic, Whitestone Foundation, and Worry Free Community, has launched a project entitled “E-March” to identify a cohort of Muslim-American community leaders in a unique effort to identify top Muslim health priorities and set the agenda for Muslim-focused, patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR).  In order to achieve this goal, participants will learn essential skills through a Learning Institute at UMMA Community Clinic in Los Angeles, CA, participate in webinars and online discussion forums, and outline a leadership project for presentation at the closing conference in Chicago, IL.

The initiative under the leadership of Dr. Asim Padela, is part of the University’s “Program on Medicine and Religion.” Organizers expect E-MARCH to empower the Muslim American community by targeting issues such as health outcomes which are largely understudied; using the underutilized mosque community for health research and intervention; and dealing with the paucity of programs and resources tailored to the religious and cultural needs of the Muslim-American community, a press release from the University of Chicago said.

Using PCOR to gauge the needs of the specific targeted community would bridge the gap between the challenges faced by healthcare stakeholders, researchers and patients, because PCOR creates an environment in which patient voices are heard in assessing the value of healthcare options, the press release said.

Fatema Rehman Mirza, executive director of Worry Free Community, a Glendale Heights, Illinois-based non-profit, urged those community members with a “strong commitment to social justice, community empowerment, and public service” who want to develop new skills to positively impact their communities, to learn about the project and sign up by the April 30 deadline. Benefits to participants include a $810 remuneration and all travel and lodging expenses paid for participating in the Learning Institute and closing conference, apart from gaining health knowledge, skills, and networking. For more information, visit https://pmr.uchicago.edu/