Fundraising events for the foundation, as well as private donations, raised a total of $80,000 in a two-year period. Just before the clinic opened, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors approved a $75,000 grant to the Noor Foundation to cover the annual costs of point-of-service testing. And a broad swath of the county’s office holders, healthcare administrators, and community leaders attended the clinic’s grand opening.
Geared to the Patient
Keeping in mind his patient population, Dr. Nooristani plans to incorporate patient education on managing chronic illnesses. An ophthalmologist has volunteered one day a month. A separate optometric examination room is outfitted with all the requisite equipment, and eyeglasses have been donated.
Furnished tastefully throughout, the clinic does not have the stark quality sometimes associated with free clinics. Dr. Nooristani also is respectful of patients’ time: “I don’t want anybody sitting in the waiting room for more than 30 minutes,” he says.
That’s why the appointment calendar is structured to accommodate future appointments, and he currently staffs each clinic day with two physicians and additional providers. He’s also savvy about his use of volunteers, limiting their hours to avoid burnout. (Listen to Dr. Nooristani talk about access to preventive care and starting free clinics.)
Dr. Nooristani already has his sights set on more clinics, hopefully in his home country. In the meantime, though, he says, “people need care here.”
Like the meaning of the clinic name (“noor” means hope, and his name translates to “land of hope”), he hopes to inspire others to follow his lead. “Any community, big or small, can do this,” he says, enthusiasm in his voice. “You just have to keep your eyes on the prize.”
Gretchen Henkel is a freelance writer based in California.