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To Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Required

May 17, 2024

May is a very important month for many. We celebrate Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and children, siblings, and grandchildren graduating from kindergarten, high school, or college. At Good Sam, this May we celebrate the very special birthday of our Founder and CEO, Dr. William Warren. While Good Sam celebrated its 25th year in 2023, this God-given dream to provide healthcare to those who need it has been around for a bit longer. Read along as his children Mary Elizabeth, William, and Cole give us their testimony of God’s work through the hands of Dr. Warren.

" At the tender age of 12, I remember sitting at our dinner table when my dad, Dr. Bill Warren, told me about his plans to leave his prestigious private practice (which felt like family) to serve as a doctor in the inner city.  Most people he informed of his plans thought he had lost his mind, including ME!  I loved that my Daddy was a well-respected, kind, and excellent pediatrician. I appreciated the feeling of stability this brought to my life.  So many questions popped into my mind as he relayed the news, and he and our wonderful mom patiently answered them all. I was young (and largely clueless) and simply felt fearful not knowing what this monumental change would mean for MY life. However, as my dad pursued this calling from the Lord with the support of my mom, my admiration of my parents only grew. It became increasingly clear what this shift would mean for SO many lives, well beyond my own.

You’ve likely heard the adage from St. Francis, “Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary, use words.”  This is our father to the tee. Both at home, in coaching our sports teams, teaching our Sunday School classes, or giving me a steady stream of Coca-Cola so as not to pass out while fishing under the hot Cumberland sun, and also at the Good Samaritan where he has faithfully brought quality healthcare to the underserved or overlooked for almost 26 years and counting, my Dad has quietly and faithfully lived out the many verses he always impressed upon our ears and hearts: “To whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48),  “Whatever you have done unto the least of these, you have done unto me” (Matthew 25:40),  and “Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). On his 70th birthday, my brothers and I want to say we love you, respect you, and can only hope you’ve rubbed off on us a bit! "

 ~ Mary Elizabeth Warren Stone

"In first grade, my Bible teacher asked the class if we knew anyone who loved God. I raised my hand and said, “my dad”. The teacher then asked, how do you know he loves God? I simply replied that every morning while eating my breakfast and getting ready for school, I would notice my dad spending time in his office reading his Bible and kneeling at his chair in prayer. While his morning robes were short and tacky, I was shown from an early age how much my dad loved God.

I don’t think anything in these 25+ years at Good Sam would have happened if my Dad, and those employed by Good Sam, didn’t love God first. Joshua 1:9 says, “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it.” It is not easy to pursue God. And it is not always easy to love Him. But, I think what my Dad’s story has shown me is that sometimes loving God starts with action and joining in his mission.

At an early age, I found it hard at times to trust in God and I remember my parents telling me to “coast on their faith” … and give it time. My dad’s faith has always been one of action and less of words. At 6 years old I remember him selling his sports car and switching to a super cool green minivan. I also remember at a young age watching him talk with care and intentionality to patients in need when he was on call late at night or on the weekends. I also have fond memories of walking the rough-in stage of the new Good Samaritan Center. He explained with excitement and detail that there would be a teaching kitchen, an urban farm, and a beautiful state-of-the-art dental wing all for this local community. This was incredible to watch as a little boy.

A verse in Matthew states - “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” There is no doubt that my Dad’s biggest desire is to love God. But I believe that started with him giving up resources, time, and mental energy towards God’s calling. He developed a love for God by loving God’s mission and God’s people. For that, I am beyond grateful for the example he has shown me, and how as a little boy I could “coast on his faith” and begin to build my relationship and love for God. "

~ Cole Warren

You don’t have to have grown up in the love and instruction of Dr. Warren in order to have beautiful memories like these of him and his service. He demonstrates the love of God in his interactions with all: staff, friends, and patients alike. We are thankful to have had this special opportunity to get an even better glimpse into the life of the Warren family and for Mary Elizabeth, William, and Cole for providing this opportunity.

We, your Good Sam Family, have a celebratory message to share with you: Happy Birthday, Dr. Warren! Good Sam would not be here without you and we would not be stewards of His love in the ways that Good Sam allows us to be. We are blessed to work with and around you and we wish you nothing but the best as you grow another year wiser!

Tiffany Loredo

Marketing and Communications Coordinator 
Good Samaritan Health Center


More Than Just A Month of Awareness

May 3, 2024

Why Is Mental Health Awareness Important?

Mental Health Awareness Month is one of many opportunities to discuss mental illness and its prevalence, as well as learn how we can support those experiencing mental health challenges.

What is mental illness?

In order to fully appreciate the benefits of mental health, let’s first take a look at aspects of mental illness.  According to the American Psychological Association, a mental disorder, or mental illness, is any condition characterized by cognitive and emotional disturbances, abnormal behaviors, impaired functioning, or any combination of these.1

Two of the most widely reported mental illnesses are anxiety and depression.

Anxiety is defined as an intense, persistent, or excessive worry or dread about everyday situations that interfere with daily living, are difficult to control, and are out of proportion to the actual danger.2

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest, which affects how you feel, think, and behave.3

Many people are suffering in silence largely due to an inability to afford healthcare, as well as the stigma associated with getting therapy.  Many turn to the use of substances like drugs and alcohol to cope, and of those, several contemplate suicide or have succeeded in following through.

Here are some sobering statistics on the rates and prevalence of mental illness in our country4:

21% of adults, over 50 million people, are experiencing a mental illness

55% of adults, over 28 million people, receive no treatment

16% of youth, more than 2.7 million, are experiencing severe major depression

60% of youth with major depression do not receive treatment

15% of adults had a substance use disorder in the last year, 93% received no treatment

4.8% of adults, 12.1 million people, reported serious thoughts of suicide

11% of adults with a mental illness, over 5.5 million, are not insured

What is mental health?

The World Health Organization defines mental health as a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community.5

The staggering statistics above reveal many of us are living day to day mentally unwell. Mental health awareness becomes crucial then to shine a light on this national problem that affects so many people, robbing them of the ability to feel whole and be effective members of their families, communities, and society.  You likely know someone who is struggling with mental illness or may have experienced it firsthand at one point making it a personal cause to uphold. Each one of us has a responsibility to engage in and support the awareness of mental health.

What can you do to help?

Do your research –

  • Search trusted sites like the American Psychological Association, CDC, or the National Institute of Mental Health to learn more about mental health disorders and their symptoms so that you may be able to detect the signs in the people around you.

Normalize discussions about mental health to help destigmatize treatment/therapy –

  • Take every opportunity, not only in May, to check on the mental well-being of those you care about. Ask your friends and family how they are doing if something about them seems off, take the time to listen without judgment, and seek to understand. Encourage your loved ones to seek treatment if needed.
  • Participate in discussions about mental health via forums on social media, at your school, or in community settings.

Vote –

During elections, vote yes pertaining to matters that support mental health awareness and funding to help increase accessibility of treatment.

Novell Blain, LPC

Counselor 
Good Samaritan Health Center

 

1https://dictionary.apa.org/mental-disorder
2www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders
3https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007
4https://mhanational.org/issues/state-mental-health-america
5https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-strengthening-our-response

Elevating The Golden Years Through Exercise and Nutrition

April 19, 2024

The health and wellness of seniors is a top priority for me, which is why I've developed a program specifically tailored to this demographic. Inspired by my active grandparents in their 80s, I aim to motivate and empower all seniors to stay active and healthy. This comprehensive program focuses on fitness, offering a variety of activities including resistance training, weight training, restorative yoga practices, and breathwork for recovery. In addition, our nutrition component is dedicated to educating seniors on proper dietary habits for their age group, with a focus on introducing budget-friendly plant-based meal alternatives.

The success of this program is measured by its metrics. We conducted weekly weigh-ins and observed positive weight loss results among participants. Surveys provided us with valuable feedback and insights into the program's progress from our participants. We discovered that the program provided valuable social interaction for those unable to leave their senior homes, increased knowledge of budget-friendly healthy meal options, and introduced easy-to-follow at-home workouts. Continue reading for some quick comments from participants of the program on their last day.

“The program is helping me to get healthier. Teaching me to work out more and we all love it! Don’t stop the program, keep it going! I've been here from the start. It has impacted my life because I've learned to eat healthier, and I’ve lost weight. My favorite part was doing the exercise and meeting new people. I love Coach Carter and Audrey. Throughout this class, I learned how to get up and exercise and how to do it at home.” - Participant 1

“I’ve been in this program for 4 weeks. This class has impacted my life by giving me more energy to get up and exercise. The workouts with music were my favorite part. The nutrition class is also very good. I've learned to incorporate a vegetarian diet into my normal diet and also that you have to put effort into working out, even if it's just for 20 minutes. I appreciate everyone, for pushing us and        making us feel better.”  - Participant 2

“I'm going to miss them, it's been very nice. I've been here for a while. This class has impacted me for the better. It helped me figure out how to work out because I had stopped working out. I didn’t have a favorite part of the program because I enjoyed it all. Everyone was very nice!” - Participant 3

“I’ve been a part of this program for two months now. It's impacted me a lot. It has helped me move better and helped me figure out how to work out. Working out with Audrey and getting information on how to better care for my joints has been my favorite. The nutrition class has helped me learn more new foods, like how avocados can help my joints and mushrooms as a vegetarian option for meatless tacos. I liked the nutritional information they gave. I think the program is good and Coach pushes us a lot more and it’s a good motivational program. I wish they offered the class more days throughout the week like Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.”  – Participant 4

 

 

Audrey Clark

Community Outreach and Market Manager  
Good Samaritan Health Center


Do you want to be healed?

April 05, 2024

Four mornings a week, the staff starts our day at Good Sam with a time of devotion and prayer. Staff members are each scheduled for mornings throughout the year to share their personal nudgings from the Holy Spirit, a passage of scripture, text from a favorite devotional, an excerpt from a sermon they’d heard recently. A few weeks ago, Dr. Jennifer Mathew, one of our medical providers, shared her thoughts on John 5 and the story of The Healing at the Pool on the Sabbath.

In case you aren’t familiar with the story, here’s a brief history and recap. Jesus has just come to Jerusalem from Galilee. He arrives and visits a pool, called Bethesda (“House of Mercy), that provided water for the temple. This pool and the surrounding area were a haven for many disabled people, both because it was shaded and because the pool was believed to have healing powers! The legend was that an angel would descend into the pool and stir up the water. The first person to enter the pool after the stirring would be healed. You can imagine the number of people in need who gathered there, in hopes of healing and, at the very least, comfort.

 “One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.” John 5:5-9

“Do you want to be healed?”

What a fascinating question. This man has been an invalid for thirty-eight years. He’s hanging out at a pool renowned for its power to heal. Jesus knows all of this, yet he asks “Do you want to be healed?” Such a simple question and also such a beautiful picture of how Jesus comes alongside us in our humanity and our need. As we listened to Dr. Mathew’s devotion, we were struck by the fact that this is what we inherently do for our patients at Good Sam. They face so many barriers in trying to access basic human and health services, I’m sure it often feels like they have no choice in these matters. A persistent lack of autonomy affects a person’s quality of life, their motivation to seek health or build meaningful connections, and ultimately their mental and physical health. With one question, “Do you want to be healed?” Jesus provides the power of choice to the man. With our doors open wide, we do the same.

“Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.”

This part of the story also hits close to home. I’m not a provider, but I’ve done this work long enough to know that our patients have a list of reasons, excuses, explanations, and sufferings they bring with them into the exam room. Their hope has waned, even as they’ve managed to get an appointment with a provider that can genuinely put them on a path toward healing. The vulnerability of believing that it could actually happen is too much to bear. It’s easier to remain powerless than to make the trek back toward the pool to just have someone beat you there yet again, to rob you of your miracle.

Jesus in his kindness says simply “Get up, take your bed, and walk.” The steps are simple, the prescription is clear. While patient care at Good Sam is not necessarily that straightforward, the message is the same. You can do this. Take action, follow our guidance, health is here.

In what I’m calling the “follow up appointment” of this story, Jesus finds the man again in the temple and says to him (v. 14) “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” The healing of the body can happen in an instant. The healing of the human condition takes time and patience. Our work is not complete with one appointment, nor is the patient’s. And that’s okay because generous donors ensure our doors remain open for the next visit and for the one after that. Brave patients come in for their next appointment and hopefully the one after that. Patient providers, counselors, medical assistants and dental assistants show up day after day to offer the dignity of choice and a treatment plan to follow. And most importantly, we serve the God of the universe who does not tire of our need, our excuses, our humanity. He sent His son to be fully human and fully divine, to sympathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15), so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). In Him, we will all be healed. And because of Him, we can ask our neighbor “Do you want to be healed?”.

Heather Kersey

Chief Development Officer  
Good Samaritan Health Center


Taking Nutrition "Beyond the Table"

March 22, 2024

March is National Nutrition Month®! National Nutrition Month® is a yearly movement established in 1973 by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world’s largest organization of nutrition and dietetics professionals. Throughout, the month of March, and beyond everyone is invited to learn about making beneficial food choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits.

National Nutrition Month Theme

I’m a registered dietitian nutritionist who helps my patients create healthy long-term habits that fit their food preferences and budget. I like this year’s theme, “Beyond the Table,” because it focuses on the farm-to-fork aspect of nutrition, from how our food is produced and distributed, to shopping at grocery stores and farmer's markets. It also points out the different ways we eat including at home, on-the-go, and at restaurants. This theme also includes the sustainability of our food systems. How to decrease food waste from home, at work, school, and elsewhere.

National Nutrition Month Tips

Follow these healthful tips in March and all year long.

    • Stay nourished on any budget. Learn to cook a few basic recipes and use a grocery list and shop sales when purchasing food.
    • See a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). Ask your medical doctor for a referral to see an RDN or find one at eatright.org. An RDN can give you personalized nutrition information to help you with your health intentions.
    • Eat a variety of foods from every food group. Enjoy your favorite cultural foods and traditions. Try new foods or global cuisines often. Experiment with recipes using different seasonings and ingredients.
    • Eat with the environment in mind. Enjoy more plant-based meals and snacks. Reduce food waste by getting creative with leftovers or freeze leftovers for later. Buy foods in season and from local farmers including Good Samaritan’s Urban Farm when possible or grow your vegetables.

Jerlyn Jones, MS MPA RDN LD CLT

Registered Dietitian  
Good Samaritan Health Center


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