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Welcoming the Muslim Community
One consistent question that Nano asked and would ask in our context today is “Who has access to the goods of our society today and who does not?” Her response was to provide education. In terms of health care the Presentation Sisters determined several decades ago that people living in rural areas should not have a lesser quality of health care services than those who live in a more urban area. Today, one stellar example of how that mandate is being implemented is through the eCare services of Avera Health, electronic medical services. The services of eCare are now in over 200 locations in eight states through a variety of venues for eICU, eEmergency, ePharmacy to eLong Term Care and more. We have served tens of thousands of patients since 1993 and saved millions of dollars.
In terms of how we welcome the newly arrived and ensure they have access to the goods of our society, several Muslim physicians at Avera McKennan asked if Avera could help them establish a community center. The main purpose was to have a location to gather and to allow them to teach their children the Muslim faith and traditions. Without this support many physicians felt obligated to leave the local community in Sioux Falls for larger Muslim centers to provide for their children’s education. The desire to retain physicians, especially some subspecialties where recruitment is challenging, meant Avera McKennan needed to respond proactively. For a few, short years Avera McKennan did support the physicians in this endeavor which is now self-sustaining as the Muslim community is thriving. This type of arrangement between a Catholic hospital and Muslim physicians was unprecedented in the history of the United States. Apart from the physicians and their families, patients benefit from the stability the community center has brought as doctors remain here and the area is blessed with expanding diversity.