By: Rachael Andrews

Faiz Syed (‘21) is a rising senior in the International Affairs program on the Pre-Medical track. He currently serves as the Business Director for Shifa Clinic Athens, a free clinic for the underserved and uninsured population of Athens-Clarke County, Georgia.  

The Shifa Clinic was founded in March 2017 by a group of undergraduate UGA students. “In three years, we have been fortunate enough to have provided over $140,000 worth of healthcare to the Athens-Clarke County community,” Syed explains.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ensuing prevalence of food insecurity, the Shifa Clinic has searched for ways to shift its focus in order to best provide for the Athens community. Syed and the clinic – including several SPIA students – are working to provide resources and services to the community.

Shifa Clinic Athens is offering the following services:

  • The clinic has opened a food pantry, which distributes food boxes containing rice, oil, flour, beans, pasta, pasta sauce, canned soup, fresh produce, etc.
  • The clinic is distributing free boxed meals to the homeless population.
  • In partnership with the Georgia Department of Health, the clinic is offering free pre-screening for COVID-19 via telephone hotline for anyone in the state of Georgia. Individuals potentially showing symptoms of COVID-19 can call (706) 431-7334 to communicate with clinical staff, free of charge. If an individual is determined to be at high risk, medical professionals will be available to advise patients on next steps. The hotline is available each day between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. A hotline in Spanish will also be available at (706) 407-1864.
  • The clinic is also distributing free backpacks with hygiene products, sanitary items, feminine products, toiletries and food items for low income residents.


The clinic offers services between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. every Saturday at 435 Hawthorne Avenue, Athens, Georgia, 30606. 


Through these activities, clinic volunteers are taking all precautionary measures to ensure the safety of the community. All active volunteers are equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE) in compliance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).