A Word of HOPE
A Word to Our Readers
Hello, Dear Reader!
Welcome to A Word of HOPE, the blog for HOPE Family Health.
In this space we feature articles designed to help and inform you. Each post has its own topic, but each is designed to help you, the reader, learn about HOPE, our staff, and the services we offer; about awareness and prevention of health issues common to HOPE’s service area; and about the issues surrounding healthcare that impact you and your loved ones.
HOPE Family Health is a very special place, and we want to share that with you through this column. We want to provide you with information and tools to encourage you to be an active participant in your own health journey. We also want to engage and even entertain you! We want you to experience the qualities that make HOPE so special and invite you to be part of HOPE’s mission – to make healthcare affordable and accessible to everyone in our service area.
“ There’s an epidemic of hopelessness and people who don’t think their lives can get better. So our first job was to spark some hope that their lives could get better. And that’s why we called it HOPE."
ELF: How did you come up with the HOPE name?
JD: As a medical provider I recognized that before healing can take place you have to give somebody their hope back again. A lot of the people who come to us are very discouraged. They’ve tried and failed so many times, and for whatever reason, they have given up. And I almost think that in this area – and many rural areas I our country – there’s an epidemic of hopelessness and people who don’t think their lives can get better. So our first job was to spark some hope that their lives could get better. And that’s why we called it HOPE.
We just started out as a small nonprofit faith-based health care clinic. We were not under anyone’s umbrella; we did not get federal funding. We had an independent board of directors. We weren’t affiliated with any church or any larger entity. We were truly our own organization, with our own board. We started out with four employees: a receptionist, a nurse, myself and a nurse practitioner.
ELF: Can you share some of the directions of growth that you envision for HOPE?
JD: I don’t know how long this will take, and I don’t know the way we will get there yet, but some of things that I believe HOPE will provide eventually include access to specialty care. We have some incredible primary care providers, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, and two physicians. Our providers give excellent care but there are times that we need to consult with a specialist.
About the Author
Liz Ferrell, JD
Director of Development & Outreach
Liz Ferrell joined the HOPE family in February 2020. A Mississippi native, Liz lived and worked in the Nashville area for 17 years, much of that time in programming and promotions at WSM Radio. In 2006 she became editor of The Hartsville Vidette and moved to Trousdale County, where she lived and worked until leaving in 2011 to attend law school at The University of Mississippi. After obtaining her law degree and passing the Tennessee bar, she moved to Gallatin in 2015 and served as an assistant public defender before joining the HOPE staff. Liz lives in Gallatin with her parents, Bud and Jean, and her Shih Tzu, GloBug.
“When somebody can find that space where they’re not judged, where they are listened to and believed in, and they can share the most vulnerable parts of themselves and be met with acceptance rather than judgment and criticism – that is the environment where healing can take place.”
ELF: Let’s start by talking about HOPE. What year did it open, and what did you envision when you decided to found a new clinic?
JD: HOPE opened in January 2005. The original vision was to provide a place where people could come for primary health care where they would feel welcomed, safe, and cared for, and where we would remove every barrier possible to care for folks. Of course, the primary barrier is money, along with insurance status, which go hand in hand. But there are other barriers, as well.
One significant barrier is language. When you’re sick or hurting and can’t speak English well, it’s hard to get health care in this area. In addition, sometimes your legal status and whether or not you’re here as an undocumented person can also greatly impact your options for healthcare.
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