Frances Ford ’77 inducted into Healthcare Hall of Fame
Sowing Seeds of Hope Executive Director Frances Ford was recently inducted into the Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame.
At the July awards luncheon at the Alabama Activity Center in Montgomery, Ala., Ford was honored for her “outstanding contributions to, and exemplary service for” healthcare in the state of Alabama.
Citing her faith in God and the influence of her parents, Ford said she is guided by the principles of “giving back, helping others, and [showing] the love of Christ”. Throughout her career, Ford has followed a deep calling to make a difference in her spheres of influence. A graduate of Judson College (B.S.) and the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing (R.N.) at Samford University, Ford devoted her nursing career to serving her neighbors in the Black Belt region of Alabama. Her nursing experience has spanned work in hospitals and outpatient clinics throughout the region, and her continued work in the nonprofit sector has improved the quality of healthcare quality and access in her own Perry County.
In 1999, Ford accepted the position of Health Care Coordinator for Perry County in order to begin rebuilding healthcare infrastructure in the community after the closure of the County’s hospital in the same year. Supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Ford coordinated projects to increase the number of healthcare professionals, expand the services of outpatient clinics, and remove regulatory barriers that inhibited the delivery of healthcare services in rural and medically-underserved parts of the state.
Her efforts influenced state and federal officials to establish a primary care center in Marion and to revise regulations that prohibited End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) facilities from operating in areas more than 10 miles from a hospital. This change, which Ford accomplished through her involvement with the Governor’s Black Belt Action Committee, allowed for the establishment of the Davita Dialysis Center in Marion, eliminating a 40-mile drive two to three times per week for more than 50 dialysis patients in Perry County.
Ford also developed and led an initiative to connect children in Perry County with health insurance programs, which accomplished a ten-fold increase in their coverage. This initiative was incorporated into the work of Sowing Seeds of Hope, which Ford joined in 2005 as Executive Director.
Through her work at Sowing Seeds of Hope (SSOH), Ford’s influence in improving access to quality healthcare is still felt in her community. SSOH provides free school screenings to children in Perry County, provides free blood pressure clinics, hosts quarterly health fairs and offers prescription assistance to individuals in Perry County. In addition to those improvements, under Ford’s leadership SSOH fosters economic development, coordinates volunteers for housing improvements, and operates the only USDA self-help housing program in Alabama.
Said SSOH Board Member and Judson College President David Potts, “Every hour of every day, [Ford’s] work touches the lives of her neighbors. She clearly hears the words of Christ in the 25th chapter of Matthew when He calls all followers to minister to those in need.” Said Ford: “I want to give God thanks, because He has allowed me an opportunity to serve my community, and because He has put me among people who have a love for others and a desire to meet their needs. I would also like to thank the residents of Perry County for allowing me to serve them and to be able to give back.”