Established in 1981, Telugu Association of Metro Atlanta (TAMA) is one of the longest serving organizations within the Atlanta Indian community. Although TAMA started as a cultural organization, it has evolved providing social service activities for people in need. TAMA has been involved in raising funds in times of need for multitude of unfortunate incidents, be it the death of community members, fires at apartments as well as natural disasters in India. TAMA has been part of the Atlanta Telugu community for the past 40 years. The idea for the TAMA Free Clinic started in the year 2012 when there was a need for helping elders in the community who are visiting their children and did not have access to basic health care needs. And the idea came into fruition in 2014 with TAMA Free Clinic getting official recognition from Georgia Department of Public Health (GADPH). TAMA is the only local ethnic organization perhaps in the entire USA that runs a free clinic weekly.
With renting out an additional room alongside the existing TAMA office, the clinic became operational with a couple of registered GADPH volunteers helping the doctors once a month. Starting in 2015 the registered volunteers went up to fourteen and with 6 doctors of different specializations working towards this goal, the clinic has grown by leaps and bounds. Beginning summer of 2015, TAMA Free Clinic has been operating every week on Wednesdays starting at 7:30 pm. And most of the times it has been open past 10 pm. Online appointments are introduced for expedited services and to make sure the wait time is minimal. With the objective of serving visiting parents who may be uninsured or underinsured and keeping their needs in mind, two office suites in the ground floor were rented dedicating them to the clinic beginning 2015.
Basic tests for diabetes & blood pressure and general checkups are done at the clinic. Prescriptions for basic ailments as well as heart & dental related problems are provided as needed. TAMA has also worked with Quest diagnostics to get blood tests done at a discounted price for people referred from TAMA Free Clinic. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, clinic activities got hampered for a short while in March 2020. TAMA is known for quickly adapting to new changes, moving immediately to Tele-consulting mode. Doctors consult patients on phone and video calls, provide care and prescriptions. COVID vaccination drives, flu vaccination drives, consultations for COVID patients in India, and supplying oxygen concentrators, beds, oxy meters in India are few great causes supported by TAMA Free Clinic. TAMA Free Clinic has served more than 7500 patients. Currently in 2021, there are almost 50 volunteers certified by GADPH and 21 doctors serving TAMA Free Clinic.
TAMA Free Clinic has been receiving Certificate of Appreciation from Georgia Department of Public Health every year for the outstanding contributions of the volunteers and staff at the TAMA Free Clinic. If you want to support the cause, donations can be done on their website www.tama.org/clinic or by check written on behalf of TAMA with Clinic in the memo. Also, TAMA is organizing 5K walk this Sunday, August 1st at Newtown park in Johns Creek from 8 am. You can show your support to the TAMA Free Clinic either by sponsoring or by participating in 5K walk. Funds are strictly used for Clinic rent, equipment, accessories and phlebotomist support.