Author: Mike Morgan, M.D., ER Physician, Volunteer Medical Provider
If I hadn’t had the opportunity to volunteer at the Maliheh Clinic during my formative years I could easily have become another statistic.
When I was 13 years old, I got a job washing dishes to ease my mother’s financial burdens. One of the regular customers, Dr. Ken Libre, provided minor medical care to the restaurant’s immigrant employees. His actions and selflessness made a lasting impression on me.
A decade later I worked as a waiter to pay my way through college and found myself waiting on Dr. Libre again. I told him I had often thought of a career in medicine, but was sure it was an impossible dream. He told me about the Maliheh Clinic where he volunteered and he suggested that I come volunteer.
The Maliheh Clinic opened my eyes to a world of opportunity. It taught me important lessons about cultural competency, patient care, pathology and disease process, and the art of doctoring. As I made my way through my medical school training, I continued volunteering at the clinic.
As a medical student at the University of Utah, my experience inspired me to start a student-run clinic at the Maliheh Free Clinic on Saturday mornings, which offers a remarkable and unique learning experience for University of Utah medical students, and helps the clinic provide for the needs of patients.
I graduated in 2013 and am now an Emergency Medicine physician at the University of Utah Medical Center, the Assistant Director of Global and Population Health through the Division of Emergency Medicine, and the Director of Urgent Care at the 4th Street Homeless Clinic.
I gave time to Maliheh, but what it gave me in return is invaluable. I saw how a team of caring and loving volunteers can transform the suffering of others and provide hope to the poor and marginalized people in our community. I am forever indebted to the Maliheh Clinic. It is because of the Maliheh Clinic that I am driven to serve and most importantly, it was through Maliheh that I learned what it truly means to care for the patient.