Jenny Dittes, PA-C
Tell us about God's specific call on your life for the gospel and care for the poor.
Right after college, I spent a year in Cameroun volunteering at a dental clinic. Because of that experience, I decided to pursue medical work among the poor. The very next year I went to PA school, and my first job was in rural Arizona working with low-income minority communities. In 2005, God called me to found HOPE Family Health, a non-profit, faith-based primary care clinic in a rural part of northern Tennessee, right on the Kentucky border. I currently serve as HOPE's director, and also provide patient care on a limited basis. I LOVE this work and would not want to do anything else!
How has being involved in CCHF impacted your life?
When I first got acquainted with CCHF at the 2010 conference, the clinic I had founded, HOPE Family Health, was in a time of financial crisis. I was discouraged and exhausted. I wasn't sure what to expect - but at the conference everyone was so kind and helpful. I met Bruce Miller, Susan Post, Rick Donlan, and of course Steve Noblett, and they all offered encouragement. While at the conference, two different people that I didn't even know offered to pray with me, which touched me immensely.
One of the "turning points" for HOPE also occurred as a result of the 2010 CCHF conference. While there, I attended a presentation by Kim Konkel from the federal government about the new funding for FQHCs to be released over the next five years. HOPE applied for that funding, and received the award in 2012 - which turned everything around for us financially, allowing the health center not only to survive, but to grow and thrive.
Without the support of CCHF and its devoted, faithful members over the years, I don't think HOPE would have survived, and I would not have been able to carry out the call God gave me to care for his children who so desperately need medical care here in this rural area of northern middle Tennessee.
CCHF is a very special organization for me. As HOPE is growing stronger and more sustainable all the time, I am ready to start ministering in the same way I was ministered to. I am deeply honored to be given the opportunity to serve on the board. My prayer is that I can bless others in the same way I have been blessed by CCHF through the years.
What is your life verse?
I have many, but my current favorite is Psalm 139:7-12. "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence...." as I have grown in my relationship with God over the years, I have come to know that God is always there, in good and bad times, no matter where I am, how I feel, or how difficult the challenge ahead. I have become secure in that knowledge, like a child secure in the love and care of a good parent.
Tell us about your family.
My husband James ("JD") and I just celebrated our 20th anniversary in May of this year. JD teaches English and German at Station Camp High School, and keeps an eye on our three kids, who all attend either the high school or junior high where he teaches. We have three children: Ellie, 17, is a senior in high school who hopes to major in International Business at University of Pennsylvania or University of South Carolina next year; Owen, 13, who is into all things musical, and hopes to be a film score composer some day; and our youngest, Jonah, 11, who loves animals and spends lots of time after school with his golden retriever puppy, who is as playful and mischievous as he is!
Name three interesting facts about yourself.
1. I love backpacking and kayaking
2. I was raised in the Seventh-day Adventist church and still deeply respect and follow many of its beliefs, but I and my family joined the United Methodist Church in 2007 because of its inclusiveness and emphasis on care for the poor.
3. I was raised in California, attended college in England, lived in Cameroun and Albania, and now work in rural Tennessee, where I am sometimes accused of having a Yankee accent - in spite of the fact that I now regularly use the words "honey," "darlin'" and "y'all!"