Dr. Zaher Sahloul built MedGlobal based on the belief that everyone deserves access to quality healthcare – from the refugee family in a camp, to those of us right here in Chicago. His team of clinicians and doctors work in the world’s most difficult to reach areas, devastated by war, natural disasters, famine and ethnic cleansing. As a recipient of the Marjorie Kovler 2017 Robert H. Kirschner Award, and a Heartland Alliance board member, we are proud to work with Dr. Sahloul in the fight for equity and opportunity for ALL.
What motivates you to do the work that you do? Why do you give your time, energy, and resources to these causes?
Chicago is a welcoming city to all. We have immigrants and refugees from all over the world. My patients and medical staff are quite diverse. I believe that diversity is a strength to any city and any country. Also – I am a Muslim American who emigrated from Syria for better life, and who believes in interfaith action that reflects our collective values. My faith gives me the fuel to volunteer, organize and give back to the most vulnerable. I have worked with immigrants and refugees in Chicago for better immigration policies. We are all the same. We aspire for the same things.
How does your work with Heartland Alliance help this cause?
It is a dream that became a reality to belong to an organization that has been fighting poverty at the local and global level for the past 130 years. Heartland Alliance is one of the most established, most welcoming organizations here in the Midwest – and they are dedicated to serving the most vulnerable populations.
My values and goals in life intersect with what HA is trying to do in its local, national, and global programs.
How should others help?
I think the most important thing is for people to pay attention – to know that we live in a special time where global disasters that drive people out have become the norm because of global warming, scarcity of resources (especially water), inequality, and wars.
We should focus on the global refugee crisis. We have the highest number of refugees on the planet since the Second World War. There are always organizations that you can support. You can volunteer for my organization MedGobal, where we send diverse medical teams to provide dignified healthcare to refugees – and you can support great organizations like Heartland Alliance that are helping refugee and immigrant communities fight poverty through innovative programs.