Kim Fonte, Sharlin Ahmed-Khan, PhD, Estela Hansen, RN -- three women working to make a difference in Southern Nevada.
They are doing it under the volunteer umbrella of the Clark County Medical Society Alliance (CCMSA), a 70-year-old service organization that focuses on building a healthier Southern Nevada, a nonprofit comprised of nearly 200 physicians and physician spouses.
Co-presidents of the Alliance, they are also members of CCMSA’s Team Alliance, which participates in many community charitable events, including: Mark 10:14 BBQ for Special Needs Children at Faith Lutheran High School, Walk to End Alzheimers, Light the Night Walk for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and fundraising to provide shoes and socks for the homeless.
The Alliance’s largest fundraisers, the Annual Fashion Show Luncheon in March and the Holiday Scholarship Project, have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for organizations that include the American Heart/Stroke Association and for scholarships for nursing and medical school students -- yes, our UNLV School of Medicine students are benefiting from their wonderful community outreach.
“I get a lot of pleasure out of helping others,” says Dr. Ahmed-Khan, a mother of three who holds a doctorate in genetic engineering from Africa’s University of Zimbabwe. Married to cardiologist Dr. Shahab Khan, she teaches university biology and genetics online “Helping others revitalizes me on a spiritual level.”
Ask these well-educated women why they do what they do -- whether it be raising money for scholarships or for organizations helping families affected with Autism Syndrome Disorder (ASD) -- and you quickly learn they truly believe it is necessary for a healthier Southern Nevada to be created, but it will not come to pass without vision, commitment, passion and respect for the human personality and frailties of man.
“I want to give back to the community, to make it a better place,” says Fonte, a mother of two with a BS degree in Biochemistry. Previously married to a physician, Fonte has a 15-year-old teen with ASD. “The Alliance has given me a powerful and meaningful way to serve the community.”
Fonte, who owns Lunch Buddies catering company and also works at New York Life helping families with life insurance, long-term care and retirement planning, starts work every day between 1 and 2 a.m. Her children’s bedtime, 8 p.m. is also hers. “I feel very fortunate that I have the flexibility in schedule to work and volunteer,” she says.
“I’ve always wanted to be part of the solution to problems in the community,” says Hansen, a registered nurse who serves as office manager for the medical practice of her husband, Dr. Lindsay Hansen, an internist. “My mother was that way and I carried it on with my college aged children as well. It’s important to make a difference.”