Zarina Baber: Giving Back Where Needed

Zarina Baber is a political activist and a human right activist. She was raised in Hyderabad and was one of the pioneers of the first women’s cricket team. She has a BS in Business from Carlson School of Management, University of MN, and a MS of Technology Management from the University of St. Thomas. In addition, a Master Certificate from Cornell University in Healthcare Leadership focused on Organizational Change. Lastly, she is certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP) and recently became a Certified Scrum Master (CSM). Currently, she serves as the Director of Enterprise Program Management Office for a global financial service firm. She has 25 years of work experience in Information Technology and Project Management across multiple industries including healthcare, Government, Retail and Financial Services. In healthcare, she led a $175 million initiative that included implementing an Electronic Health Record system across 8 hospitals and over 70 clinics and lead a team of 200 professionals. Zarina currently resides in Minnesota.

 
I have been a member of the Islamic Center of Minnesota (ICM) since 1987. I served as the ICM in multiple capacities including as a Board Member (Social Director) and a member of the Council of Trustees. I collaborated with the Muslim physician community and various health care organizations and founded Al’Shifa free clinic in 1996. It is a part time volunteer based free clinic that serves the under-served and is open to anyone wanting to seek help. The clinic has been running now for 20 years and has served as a model for other free clinics in Minnesota.

 

I developed a partnership with Minnesota’s Future Doctors organization that provides support and creates internship opportunities for the under-served students. This partnership allowed students interested in health care to network with community physicians and gain valuable experience to enhance their medical school application. For example, one volunteer was admitted to Mayo medical school and another is an Emergency Physician in Chicago. Because of this initiative, I was a recipient of the Annual Asian Pacific Leadership Award in 2001 and was recognized by Senator Mark Dayton in the US Senate the same year. An article from Star Tribune that highlights the importance of Al Shifa free clinic was also published.

 
In 1992, I served on the Board of Advocates for Human Rights Minnesota Advocates. The mission of the organization is to investigate and expose human rights violations internationally and in the United States. It represents immigrants and refugees who are victims of human rights abuses, and works through education and advocacy to engage the public and policymakers. I forged a close partnership with the organization to alleviate the concerns of the Bosnian Crisis. I was nominated to be a spokesperson of a multi-organization coalition that was advocating for US intervention in Bosnia based on human rights violations at a rally held in Minnesota. The rally was organized in coordination with rallies held nationally. Moreover, me and my family diligently assisted in resettling the Bosnian and Somalian refugees. In addition, I participated in research with an organization that resulted in a report called “Voices From Silence” that focused on the long-term impact of post 9/11 on American Muslims.

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