Page 3


A Promise to Help By Lori Quiller

When Sandra Ford, MD was eight years old, her father took her to the doctor. At that time, Alabama was under segregationist laws, so the sevenhour wait that young Sandra and her father had to see the doctor wasn’t unusual. However, that particular visit that left an indelible mark on her that not only shaped her career in medicine, but it also marked the beginning of her spiritual path. “During segregation, the doctor could only take so many patients,” Ford said. “So we sat. But I still remember that day vividly. I was sitting in the doctor’s office, and there was this elderly woman just suffering sitting in the chairs with us. It seemed like they were passing her by. I couldn’t understand why no one could help her. It bothered me a lot. And then Sandra and Henry Ford’s nonprofit organization is in its 16th year serving Alabama’s Black Belt counties. I watched her take her last breath. At the age of eight, I mission of God because we don’t enjoy the Each month’s mission presents its watched her die.” benefit of grants. This is just people helpown logistical challenges. Using Ford’s That one visit to the doctor as a child ing other people. This is the hand of God small medical practice in Birmingham as a changed Ford’s life. It planted a seed, moving all of us. People give what they base of operations, donations of clothing, which grew through the years. “This is can, and we accept that to give to others.” medicine, equipment and other necessities how A Promise to Help started,” she said. A Promise to Help is a nonprofit medical missionary organization founded by Ford and her husband, Henry, which is now in its 16th year. The organization serves Alabama’s Black Belt counties, including Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Samford University’s Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Montgomery, Perry, Russell, Sumter and Wilcox Counties. “We’ve been to the most underserved, underprivileged and underinsured counties in this state. A Promise to Help is a volunteer-based organization whose goals are to assist in eliminating health care disparities in Alabama. We have physicians, Concentration in Health Law and Policy nurses, ministers, media specialists, counselors, social workers, business leaders, skilled laborers, community activists and Fully online, part-time format others all working together with one thing Complete 36 credit hours in 24 months in mind — to help others,” Ford said. The organization hosts volunteers  &RPSHWLWLYHWXLWLRQƓQDQFLDODLGDYDLODEOH worldwide who come to Alabama once a month to visit communities in the most need. Relevant course work; expert faculty provide There are 12 missions a year, and although in-depth coverage of the topics that impact the organization is designated as a nonprofit, your career it operates almost completely on the generos-

are stored in every spare space waiting to be deployed once the location has been secured. After local county resources and ministries are contacted and a liaison is in place, it’s time to roll out the mobile health clinic. The mobile health clinic has two exam beds and is larger on the inside than it looks from the outside. It serves a higher purpose to bring more than just needed health care and medicine to the residents of what Ford and some volunteers have come to call Alabama’s Third World. “It takes us a while for us to gain the trust of the people in these communities,” Ford said. “So many different studies and research projects have come through these areas looking for information, but these things never really touched these people’s lives. And that’s what we want to do. Believe it or not, we have no agenda. This is just something that God has put in our hearts to do.” A Promise to Help is part of the Spirit of Luke Charitable Foundation™ cofounded by the Fords. If you would like more information about either organization, to make a donation, or to volunteer, visit


ity of others by donations, not grants. “My husband and I are both ordained ministers, so this is a ministry for us,” Ford said. “It’s a holistic health care initiative where we can minister to the entire body. We have a medical team, a mentoring team, a ministry team and a team to address their immediate needs such as clothing and food. This is truly a

CONTACT US 205-726-2545 |

Birmingham Medical News

DECEMBER 2018 • 3

December 2019 BMN  

Birmingham Medical News December 2019

December 2019 BMN  

Birmingham Medical News December 2019