By Devin Blake Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service Published Jan 07, 2023 at 11:01 AM

The Muslim Community and Health Center of Wisconsin, or MCHC, has earned a federal designation that is allowing it to expand services.

The South Side medical clinic and community center, also known as the MCHC, is located at 803 W. Layton Ave. It has offered social services to the surrounding neighborhoods and general community for 18 years and has provided medical services for nearly 15 years.

Continuing to evolve, MCHC was formally designated as a “health center program look-alike” in August.

Look-alike status is granted to health clinics that are almost identical in services and clientele to federally qualified health centers, or FQHCs – facilities that provide primary, preventive and mental health services to uninsured and underinsured populations.

As with many governmental programs, the application was “tedious,” said Arman Tahir, CEO of MCHC. But the staff and board knew it wanted to continue to adapt to the needs of its very diverse and broad group of patients.  

“One of the largest is the South Asian community, which is Pakistan and India,” Tahir said. “We serve the Burmese community, the Rohingya community, the Somali community, the Afghan community ... Our staff speaks almost 12 languages.

“These are the different groups in our community that we thought we should provide with services that you can only get from the state and federal government.”

“At the end of the day, it’s not just diagnosing and treating,” said Sabreen Sarsour, a family nurse practitioner at MCHC. “It’s more than that. It’s seeing what they (patients) are doing on a day-to-day basis, and sometimes that does get you to a diagnosis to be able to treat.” 

Sarsour is one of four new providers MCHC has hired since receiving look-alike status. The clinic also added several different specialties, including  neurology, cardiology and podiatry. It’s in the process of adding physical and occupational therapy, Tahir said.

In addition to the medical services, MCHC has three providers dedicated to mental and behavioral health services.

MCHC also is known for its Sakina Senior Center, which hosts activities and provides resources for people 60 years of age and older. MCHC also serves refugees, including medical screenings, citizen training and financial literacy workshops. 

For more information 

Walk-ins are welcome at the MCHC, especially if the situation is urgent. But phone calls are preferred.

MCHC’s number is (414) 939-4411.

Because of its look-alike status, patients can pay according to a sliding scale based on income. As with insurance status, immigration status isn’t an obstacle affecting a patient’s ability to receive services.