By Serena Yeh
At about noon on a recent Sunday, three elderly Chinese walked into the Indian American Medical Association Charitable Foundation, a free health clinic that operates on the weekends.
The couple was at the clinic, located in West Rogers Park, to obtain medicine refills. They brought along a relative to help translate Mandarin to English for them.
Speaking through the translator, the elderly woman – Medill Reports agreed to the clinic’s request not to identify the patients – said they have been visiting the clinic on West Peterson Avenue, from their Chinatown home every three months for the past two years.
She said they visit only this clinic because the doctors are nice and the pharmacy provides free medicine which, as they are a low-income family, is an important help.
The clinic, founded in 1994, provides free primary healthcare services for Chicago’s underserved community, said its executive director, Chris Zala.
“We’re in an area of Chicago which is probably one of the most culturally diverse areas and, at the same time, it consists of members from the immigrant, refugee population. The immigrant population that are here, that are documented, do not have health insurance or are underinsured,” said Zala, 52, who was pleasantly surprised to hear that patients also travelled from Chinatown.