Track: CCDA Principles
Presenter: Frances Ford (with Together for Hope)
Perry County native Frances Ford has served as executive director of Sowing Seeds of Hope, a grassroots community development organization in rural Alabama, since 2005. She has devoted her life to enhancing and transforming healthcare in the Alabama Black Belt, first in her long career as a registered nurse and then as a community health educator and rural health advocate.
In 1999, Ford accepted the position of Health Care Coordinator for Perry County in order to begin rebuilding medical infrastructure after the closure of the community’s only hospital. In this role, she coordinated projects to increase the number of local 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 revise regulations that prohibited End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) facilities from operating in areas more than 10 miles from a hospital, resulting in the establishment of a dialysis center in Perry County.
Under her leadership, Sowing Seeds of Hope launched a children’s health insurance awareness program that created a ten-fold increase in the number of insured children in Perry County and developed a school health screening model that is now replicated across Alabama. Most recently, Sowing Seeds of Hope successfully petitioned Alabama’s governor and state health officer to bring COVID-19 testing to Perry County.
Described as a nurse with a missionary’s heart, Frances Ford is a member of both the Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame and the Alabama Nursing Hall of Fame.