Why I am running for the Broadlawns Board of Trustees

Wayne Ford represented part of Des Moines in the Iowa House and is the founder of the nonprofit organization Urban Dreams.

I am running for one of the open board seats on the Broadlawns Medical Center Board of Trustees. I have been involved with Broadlawns and the neighboring community for the past 50 years and am uniquely qualified to address the challenges that our community is currently facing: an influx of refugees, a rise in violence, limited access to proper healthcare, and lingering concerns from the pandemic. 

These factors compel me to pursue a position on the Broadlawns board so that I can be part of the solution and address these challenges.

Broadlawns has made tremendous strides in recent years, and I want to ensure that Broadlawns can continue to fulfill its potential to positively impact the health of Polk County and serve as a beacon of needed change to other communities across Iowa and the rest of the nation. My commitment to the people of this community is unwavering. In these unique times of change and uncertainty, I intend to expand upon my existing relationships on behalf of Broadlawns. From the private sector, the city, the county, the state and the federal level, Broadlawns will need to collaborate with all of these entities to activate change.

Being Broadlawns Medical Center's Community Consultant for the past six years has been one of the most exhilarating experiences that I have had in my career. During that time, I cofounded two programs that have garnered local, statewide and national recognition. TECH/TEACH and the Healthier Together: It’s A Win for All programs are examples of a public hospital working at their finest to help the community.

The former Broadlawns President, Jody Jenner, and I went to Baltimore and visited John Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Hospital to visit with them and learn what type of community programs they were doing to help residents in the urban core of Baltimore. Because of what we learned, the TECH/TEACH program was started. It's a model program for hospitals throughout our community, state and America.  I want other public hospitals to imitate what we cofounded.  

The Win For All program was led by Broadlawns and United Way of Central Iowa. The program was developed to help the voiceless during the COVID-19 pandemic and ultimately vaccinated the most people of color in a single day in the state’s history at Corinthian Baptist Church.

I was an Iowa state legislator for fourteen years, where I authored the first-in-the-nation landmark minority impact statement legislation. Federal language that emulates the Iowa legislation that I authored was just introduced by U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres of New York: the Wayne Ford Racial Impact Statement Act of 2022.

I also authored legislation that required testing for lead-based paint for school-aged children and am referred to as the father of the lead poisoning movement. I am the founder and retired Executive Director of a statewide social service nonprofit, Urban Dreams, that is now one of the most influential nonprofits in greater Des Moines.

I am the Cofounder and Cochair of the Brown and Black Forum of America, the nation's oldest nonpartisan minority-focused U.S. presidential forum. I chaired the Insurance Committee for the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. I am the recent Founder of the Wayne Ford Equity Impact Institute, a nonprofit organization that’s based on my minority impact principles. I definitely know about programs that can positively impact the health of our community, our state and our nation. 

I am pleased that Broadlawns hired Dr. Tony Coleman, who mentioned in his introduction as Broadlawns' new president that he wants to make the patients at Broadlawns the North Star. I concur. In addition, he hired Renee Hardman as Broadlawns' first Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer. With the hiring of Toshia Burrell as the Community Impact Manager, she will develop an entire community program building upon the foundation that I laid as a Broadlawns Community Consultant. It is a dream of mine that Broadlawns would have an entire department focused on community advocacy.

I am a longtime resident of the Drake neighborhood. My home is within walking distance of the future Broadlawns Drake Community Clinic, which will open in 2023. I am a proud Drake alum and a longstanding patient of Broadlawns so I am very proud of this historic partnership between Broadlawns and Drake. I was bestowed an honorary PhD, and I donated my legislative archives to Drake’s Cowles Library where my portrait hangs amongst other Iowa luminaries. I serve as a Senior Ambassador for the John Dee Bright College that helps make college more accessible. I helped expand the relationship between Broadlawns and Drake as they are both anchor institutions in the urban core of Des Moines.

In closing, I served many years in the state legislature with former Broadlawns Chair and current Trustee, Janet Metcalf. As state legislators, we worked together feverishly to help Broadlawns secure its property tax levy. She is a longtime Broadlawns trustee. Both Janet and Mary Krieg are retiring, and their seats are up for election. I am proud to have earned their endorsements for my candidacy. As trustees, both were involved with a phenomenal growth period for Broadlawns. It would be my distinct honor to follow in their footsteps and to carry on their legacy.

Please vote for me up until November 8 for the Broadlawns Medical Center Board of Trustees. The best is yet to come!

Bleeding Heartland welcomes guest posts about the 2022 general election, including candidate endorsements. Please reach out to Laura Belin if you are interested in writing.

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