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National Hispanic Heritage Month: How a Local Clinic Works to Serve the Underserved

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WFXG) – It’s National Hispanic Heritage Month! A free clinic supports this group as well as other underserved populations in the CSRA.

“It’s insurmountable. There are about 25,000 uninsured people in this community.” said Dr. William Salazar, president of the Asociación Latina de Servicios del CSRA (ALAS).

This is a grassroots effort to serve the underserved.

“It is the responsibility of every human being to help the other.” says Dr. Salazar.

Latin Clinic is managed by the non-profit association Asociación Latina de Servicios del CSRA (ALAS). ALAS was established in 2005. The organization supports the wellness of Hispanics and other underserved populations in CSRA. It operates on the Augusta University Health Sciences Campus. The free clinic serves people without health insurance and/or anyone living below the national poverty line of 200%. The organization goes beyond health care, with interpretation and identification services, English education and cultural education to the community.

“We now see an average of 200 patients a month. Many of these people are from their country, they are very uneducated people, they come here and serve the community. Many of these people work in housekeeping, many work in construction , many of the people work in the fields, the peach fields and the onion fields… Many of these people come to serve others and help. They don’t speak the language. They don’t have any connection. They are afraid to go to the hospital because the bills are going to be insurmountable, says Dr. Salazar.

Dr. Salazar says this need is only growing.

“The cost of health care, the COVID pandemic, the unemployment rate, the fact that many people living on the poverty line have lost their jobs – this is worsening access to health care.” says Dr. Salazar.

Volunteers, including UA students, help make this effort possible.

“I’m Hispanic. One of the reasons I came to medical school was to help my own community.” said Alexa Ghulam, clinic coordinator.

“I’m half Dominican, half Peruvian. My mother is a doctor and growing up it was always something very inspiring to see her give back to the community where we come from.” said Stephanie Revoredo, clinic coordinator.

Clínica Latina is open the first and third Wednesday of each month from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“Every time we have a clinic, we have a waiting list. So the need is great.” Ghulam said.

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