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Mary Ferdon, who most recently served as the city of Columbus’ community devel-opment director, has landed a new job as executive director of Volunteers in Medicine.
That nonprofit helps Bartholomew County residents who have no health insurance or access to government-sponsored treatment get proper medical care and prescription medicines.
Ferdon will replace Keith Weedman, who has run the nonprofit health clinic on Jackson Street for nearly seven years. Weedman intends to stay on until the end of June to help with the transition to Ferdon’s leadership.
“I’m really ecstatic and honored to be selected,” Ferdon said. “It’s a very well-respected organization in the community that provides such a needed service.”
She said a key challenge is to see how the federal Affordable Care Act, which is designed to expand access to health care and insurance coverage, affects Volunteers in Medicine’s structure and operations.
“Hopefully, my experience in government and with nonprofits will benefit me in the new job,” said Ferdon, who will start work next month.
She said a medical organization that relies to a large extent on volunteer doctors and others to provide care for the uninsured is something that intrigues her.
Ferdon said she helps coordinate a church group that provides construction services in disaster areas, including in Gulfport, Miss., after Hurricane Katrina, and she likes the idea of utilizing “volunteers’ passion” to get things done.
Ferdon drew high praise from many colleagues at City Hall before leaving the community development post in November after being on the job nine months. As head of community development, she had responsibility for housing, economic development, the arts and a wide array of other issues in Mayor Kristen Brown’s administration.
Before that, Ferdon served four years as special projects coordinator for the Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County.
“I texted Mary on Thursday when I first found out about this new job and told her she’s the absolute best person for it,” said Tracy Souza, president and CEO of the Heritage Fund.
Souza said Ferdon has the perfect mixture of compassion and business acumen to run the nonprofit agency well.
“Mary is one of the most compassionate people I’ve ever met,” Souza said. “She is driven to help people. And she is organized, businesslike, logical and thorough. Volunteers in Medicine has found someone who is 100 percent right for the job.”
Ferdon has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration. She worked as a finance director in Howell, Mich., before moving with her husband to Columbus 20 years ago.
Ferdon also served on the Columbus Board of Zoning Appeals for 17 years but left that assignment when she became the city’s community development director.
Volunteers in Medicine also recently announced that Tina Latta has been hired as its new clinical director.
Latta, a family nurse practitioner with a doctorate of nursing science from Breyer State University, previously served as clinical services director of Harrisonburg-Rockingham Free Clinic in Harrisonburg, Va.
Latta replaces Wanda Hadley, who retired in March after 16 years, according to a news release from Columbus Regional Hospital, which oversees Volunteers in Medicine.
Earlier this year, Weedman said he had an entrepreneurial urge to start his own company. He said he hopes to create an operation that works with communities to help people rise from poverty and forge paths to self-sufficiency.
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