Sophia Momand: Doctor Gives a Helping Hand on Skid Row
As the staff physician in Student Health and Psychological Services at California State University, Dominguez Hills, Dr. Sophia Momand treats patients with basic and preventative care and helps to educate them on making healthy life choices. As a follower of the Islamic faith and out of gratitude for her own success, she gives back to the community by helping the homeless on Los Angeles’ Skid Row by dispensing hygiene supplies, vitamins and medicine and basic first aid and referrals to clinics.
Last Sunday, she took part in Los Angeles’ Humanitarian Day, an international event sponsored by the Muslim nonprofit ILM Foundation.
Apart from her service on Humanitarian Day, which is held every September during the month of Ramadan, Momand has been coming to Skid Row one Sunday a month for the last 10 years. Last June, Momand was given the ILM Foundation’s 10th Anniversary Lifetime Humanitarian Award.
“Doing [work on Skid Row] stems back from when I said, ‘If I become a doctor, I’m not going to do what other doctors do,” says the Iranian native, who dedicates her service to her mother, who had dreamed of becoming a doctor. “They always say they’re going to help the poor and they never do somehow, because they get sucked into a way of life, of material goods and status. I said I didn’t want to ... fall into that trap.”
Giving to those less fortunate is a tenant of her faith, and one Momand believes strongly in and is instilling in her sons, Adam and Amin. They have been assisting their mother on her monthly trips to Skid Row since the beginning. Amin, a sophomore majoring in biology at CSU Dominguez Hills says his the experience is eye-opening.
“It’s one thing knowing about [the homeless],” says Amin Momand, “It’s another thing seeing them. When you’re in a place were you’ve grown up with the advantage of things, you think that the homeless are people in India or Africa, where they don’t have as much as we do. Within a 20-minute drive from [campus], there are homeless people.”
With gratitude for her medical education and skills, Momand encourages students at Dominguez Hills to join her in trying to alleviate the difficulties of life on the streets for the homeless.
“When you see poverty, when you see people who are poor and hungry, that’s wrong, especially as he said, with the contrast between that and where we are,” she says. “You can bring hygiene [supplies], food, or offer a sympathetic voice and kindness. Or you can bring medical expertise, which I’ve got no excuse not to. I’m guilty if I don’t help out because I know too much and they have a need for that.”
To make a donation of hygiene supplies, blankets or other items to Dr. Momand's Skid Row efforts, contact (310) 243-3629.
- Joanie Harmon