GENESIS OF AN IDEA
In the spring of 1999, Nashville physicians Dr. David Gaw and Dr. John Lamb began discussions concerning the feasibility of opening a family practice medical clinic devoted to serving the primary healthcare needs of low-income Nashville residents without health insurance.
Their discussions were founded in their individual commitment to serving others with their skills and experience as physicians. After participating in a number of overseas missions to treat people in need of healthcare, they decided that there was also a great need in their own hometown for a medical mission to serve those in need of timely quality healthcare.
The doctors decided that an existing clinic in Memphis was the best model on which to base a facility for serving their own community. The Memphis clinic, the Church Health Clinic, founded by Dr. Scott Morris, invited Dr. Lamb and Dr. Gaw to visit the Memphis clinic to learn how to bring a similar facility to reality in Nashville.
After visiting Memphis, Dr. Gaw began to seek other Nashville leaders to aid him in building the clinic. He approached Nashville healthcare executive Charlie Martin who agreed to help with the project. Dr. Lamb approached Baptist Hospital’s Board of Directors and they agreed to provide the rent-free use of a freestanding medical office building on 21st Avenue North.
In the fall of 1999, Nashville businessman Bill Youree got involved with the project and put together a business plan for opening and operating the clinic.
By the spring of 2000, the Development Plan was complete and a name had been selected: Faith Family Medical Clinic.
Informal discussions were held with Nashville community leaders and a number of them agreed to join and assist with the clinic project. Fund raising efforts began in June of 2000. By the fall of 2000 major grants were awarded to the Clinic project by The Memorial Foundation ($300,000 over three years), The Frist Foundation ($100,000), and the HCA Foundation ($100,000). Individual donors had also contributed or pledged support totaling almost $400,000.
As a result of the vision and hard work of Dr. Gaw and Dr. Lamb, and through the generosity of many donors, Faith Family Medical Clinic opened its doors on October 8, 2001.
The first years of operation were guided by an Advisory Board, Board of Directors and Medical & Clinic Director, Dr. Thomas Henderson, who had moved from Southeast Missouri to help open and run the Clinic. Dr. Henderson worked tirelessly to minister to the working uninsured of Middle Tennessee. The first decade of operation was spent building the patient base (more than 20,000 patients seen), network of specialists and volunteers, and reaching out to community leaders to familiarize them with Faith Family and its services.
By the summer of 2007, the Clinic had grown to the extent that the services of a part-time Outreach Director were needed. Laura Hobson of Memphis was hired for the position and by winter of 2008 was named the Executive Director of the Clinic (and then in 2011 was named President). As the landscape of healthcare continued to change, FFMC prepared to meet increasing need by developing a strategic plan for the Clinic. Between 2009 and 2010, the Clinic’s infrastructure was renovated to improve patient flow and staff efficiency and make room for more patient visits. In addition, the administrative offices moved out of the clinic facility and into to office space conveniently located across the parking lot. Not only did this move open space in the Clinic for additional treatment rooms, but it created a space for meeting rooms and patient education.
In 2009, the Clinic celebrated its successes with the first annual Birthday Breakfast fundraising event. The Breakfast raised $70,000 in donations from current donors and 130 new supporters and honored three lifetime board members: Dr. David Gaw, Dr. John Lamb, and Mr. Charlie Martin. This has become Faith Family’s signature event and is deeply rooted in the caring community of physicians and supporters who believe in FFMC’s mission.
In the Fall of 2010, thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, Faith Family launched a new wellness initiative called Journey to Wellness (formerly known as Journey to Health). The program was designed to tackle the chronic health problems (such as diabetes, hypertension, and high blood pressure) Dr. Henderson and the clinic staff regularly encountered and included patient education programs to help participants learn to lead healthier lives.
2013 was a big year for the clinic beginning with the announcement of a new name – Faith Family Medical Center along with a fresh new logo and outreach campaign. The name “Center” was felt to better identify the comprehensive array of services offered to patients. In addition, FFMC expanded the administrative offices to make room for the Journey to Wellness program and open up space for an additional exam room in the Center. An Educational and Community Garden was planted as a vital part of Journey to Wellness’s educational programs. It was made possible by support from the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation of Nashville, Gardens of Babylon and the State of Tennessee.
Most importantly in 2013, after an extensive search, Dr. Henderson stepped down as Medical Director and the Faith Family community welcomed Dr. Parker Panovec, from Jackson, TN, as the new Medical Director. After 12 years at the helm, Dr. Henderson was ready to enjoy a semi-retirement (he continues to see patients on a part-time basis). Laura Hobson said of hiring Dr. Panovec “We have been seeking a medical director who would follow in Dr. Henderson’s footsteps and Dr. Panovec is an answer to this prayer. He is a talented physician, a gifted teacher and a caring individual.”
WHAT’S NEXT FOR FAITH FAMILY
Board and staff continue to work tirelessly to strategically plan how best to fulfill Faith Family’s Mission & Vision, and embody the founder’s Values. In 2015, in response to the post- Affordable Care Act enactment landscape, Faith Family amended its mission statement to include not only the working uninsured but also other underserved Middle Tennesseans. As always, the focus is to provide the best comprehensive care by meeting our patients physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
For detailed financial and policy information about Faith Family Medical Center, please reference the documents below.