Islamic Community Center to host Health Expo

Event held to build community ties and offer health services

The Northwest Islamic Community Center, which encountered resistance from some Plymouth residents, is planning its first-ever event.

A Health Expo is 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 8, at the center, 3300 Plymouth Boulevard.

The expo is a collaboration between NWICC, Fairview Health, Allina Health and Muslim Physicians of Minnesota. The event is free and open to the public and will feature a number of medical presentations and health information.

“The goal is to create better health awareness throughout our community,” said NWICC board member and volunteer Najam Qureshi. “We want to provide this in a more relaxed environment, one that’s not so medical and more social.”

Presentations will be given throughout the day by staff from Fairview and Allina. Topics will include women’s health, diabetes, dental hygiene, healthy eating and cancer screening.

Both Allina and Fairview have donated staff time and resources for the expo.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in free blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes checks. The clinics will also be offering flu and pneumonia vaccinations at no charge.

With the expo, the NWICC hopes to provide important services to those in the community who may not be able to otherwise receive them.

“This is targeted more towards those who might not necessarily have benefits like health insurance so they can do important screenings if they need to,” said Qureshi.

The idea for the expo began with Dr. Amin Rahmatullah, cardiologist at Allina, following his work at the Islamic Center of Minnesota’s Al-Shifa clinic in Fridley.

Al-Shifa provides free healthcare for those in need.

“We thought, ‘we’ve had this in Fridley, what about here in Plymouth?’” Rahmatullah said. “It’s a local mosque we just started, and we thought this would be a great community event.”

In addition to Allina and Fairview staff, the expo will also host a dietician, dentists, a number of family doctors and health professionals in various other fields.

Participants will be able to speak with professionals one-on-one after the presentations.

“I hope for this to make people more aware of health and prevention needs, provide a good screening program and to engage the non-Muslim community who don’t know about us,” Rahmatullah said. “We also think it’s a good time to do some interfaith outreach with the other churches and see if they would like to participate and get to know us more.”

Those who wish to have a diabetes screening are asked to fast before the day of the event to ensure an accurate reading. The Muslim Physicians of Minnesota will provide a free breakfast of healthy foods for those who come hungry.

“We want to benefit the community,” said Qureshi. “We have a lot of expertise in different areas. [The NWICC] is a group of close to 200 or 300 Muslim families. And of those, maybe 50 or so are physicians. We feel we need to take advantage of that to provide education and service.”

Qureshi continued to say that if the Health Expo were a success, the NWICC would continue to host it as an annual or semi-annual event. He also added that families of the NWICC have a host of other niches to potentially share with greater Plymouth.

“We also hope to do [an expo] on information technology,” Qureshi said. “We could even hold a financial seminar, because we have folks here who can educate people in those arenas as well.”

For more information about the NWICC visit nwicc-mn.org.

Presentation Times

Your Heart Health – 9:30-10 a.m.

Women’s Health – 10-10:30 a.m.

Diabetes and You – 10:30-11 a.m.

Cancer Screening – 11-11:30 a.m.

Dental Hygiene – 11:30 to noon

Healthy Eating – Noon to 12:30 p.m.