Venice Free Clinic, Los Angeles, CA
Since May 2010, the Sathya Sai International Organization (SSIO) has participated in a free medical clinic in Venice, Southern California. The clinic, which is affiliated with the University of California of Los Angeles (UCLA), serves extremely needy communities with little access to healthcare. The SSIO Southern California was already hosting four medical camps annually in the area, so it made sense to be part of a regular free clinic for follow-up care.
The seeds for such a plan were sowed during the 2009 SSIO International Medical Conference in Los Angeles, by a conference attendee, Elizabeth Benson Forer, the CEO of the Venice Family Clinic. Inspired by Sathya Sai Baba’s ideal of free medical care for all, she offered the Venice Clinic to the SSIO as a site to provide free medical services on Saturdays. Since the passing of the Affordable Care Act, the Venice Clinic was no longer able to offer free health care on Saturdays. By stepping in, the SSIO would be providing a much-needed service to the community. The clinic also made a generous offer of covering volunteer physicians under its medical liability insurance. All lab work would also be available at the Saturday Clinic at no charge.
Almost a decade later, the clinic is open every other Saturday for 4 hours and provides dental care, primary care, pediatric care and endocrinology to about 25 patients each day. There are usually two medical professionals and 3 to 5 other volunteers serving the patients. In the morning, before patients are seen, prayers are offered so that the care of all patients will be under the divine guidance of the Lord. Each patient is offered fruits and water as they leave.
“The relief and joy that you give to the sick and the sad, reach Me, for I am in their hearts, and I am the One they call out for. The service of man is the only means by which to serve God.” ~ Sathya Sai Baba, Sathya Sai Speaks, 10 (6)