ATTENTION HOPES Patients: HOPES operations for all locations will be closed on July 4, 2024 to observe the holiday.

 ATENCIÓN Pacientes de HOPES: Las operaciones de HOPES en todas las ubicaciones estarán cerradas el 4 de julio de 2024 para observar el feriado.

Northern Nevada HOPES shines bright

Northern Nevada HOPES has been on the front line of community health for 25 years, caring for those with the fewest resources and options. Our CEO, Sharon Chamberlain, had a wonderful time touring Pat around the clinic and sharing HOPES impact on our community’s health over the past 25 years.

“Memo from the Middle” is an opinion column beautifully written by RGJ columnist Pat Hickey, a member of the Nevada Legislature from 1996 to 2016.

In this season of giving, there is one local institution that has answered the question of whether it is better to give than to receive. They’ve done both, by giving to those with some of the greatest needs while receiving the gratitude of those same recipients and many others of us in this community who support them.

Northern Nevada HOPES has been on the front line of community health for 26 years, caring for those with the fewest resources and options. Started by Dr. Trudy Larson as a single-room HIV/AIDS clinic, HOPES now serves Northern Nevada’s most marginalized, overlooked and underserved patients with kindness and compassion.

Dr. Larson was the first medical professional in Reno to directly deal with AIDS patients. Talking with the Reno-born physician, Trudy shared her story:

“Shortly after I moved back to Reno in 1983, there were very few people who had ever seen an AIDS patient. I was called by one of my colleagues to visit a patient in the hospital with AIDS. He was in isolation, and no one on staff wanted to touch him and they all wore complete isolation suits when they had to. I walked through the door, without the suit, and the nurses said, ‘Wait, don’t go in there.’ I burst right in and sat down next to him. I learned that his medical condition was not the worst of his problems. What bothered him the most was the fact that he was estranged from his mother,” Trudy said, holding back her tears.

Located on 5th Street in Reno, HOPES serves over 12,000 of Northern Nevada’s most underserved residents who can now access medical care, behavioral health services and case management support. The facility’s wraparound services of treating “the whole person, in one place” has been a refugee for many of Truckee Meadows’ neediest persons.

One of those persons was Debbie* (not her real name to protect her privacy), who in 2012 was living in a rural town in Nevada when she got sick with pneumonia. One morning, her husband of nearly 40 years woke her up when he saw her lips were blue and she was barely breathing.

“I literally was on my deathbed,” Debbie recalls.

Debbie was in the right place to get the help she needed. When Debbie was hospitalized, finances were tight. She was uninsured and quickly racked up millions of dollars in hospital bills. Her family had to put their belongings in storage while a close friend watched their son. Her husband slept in the parking lot of the hospital for months. HOPES staff members supported Debbie through this challenging time. They helped her navigate the health care system, get the coverage she needed, and access Social Security benefits. They also connected her with resources for food and clothing after her release. When Debbie was discharged from the hospital, she had to learn how to walk and speak again. She emerged with a new perspective on life.

“They saved my life,” Debbie said of her time with HOPES. “I’m grateful to be here with my husband of 37 years and my two children. If it wasn’t for HOPES, I wouldn’t have seen my son graduate and join the Air Force. It makes me cry, but it is a happy cry. I am happy to be alive and I owe all of that to God and to HOPES.”

CEO Sharon Chamberlin has steered the ship at HOPES for the past 11 years and says the beauty of the institution is that “we embrace anybody that walks through our doors regardless of where they are in life. So many of the individuals that come here are experiencing homelessness, about 15% of our 12,000 patients.”

So, if you are looking for a way to warm your holiday soul, and find watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the hundredth time isn’t doing it for you — visit HOPES. Many of the caring staff persons who greet you were once patients themselves.

You’ll be rewarded as Trudy Larson has been. HOPES founder says, “What makes me happy when I think of HOPES is our moral code here, which is, ‘We meet people where they’re at.’ It doesn’t matter if you’re homeless, have terrible diseases, or substance abuse — we welcome everyone with open arms.”

Consider a gift to these givers. I’m sure you’ll receive more in return than what you gave. Happy holidays.

Read the RGJ column here. 


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HOPES is thrilled to welcome our three new board members Maria Sandra Jimenez, Ph.D., Susan Fisher, and Katelyn Cantu! They will help play a vital role in HOPES' strategic vision, bringing more access to medical and behavioral health care to our community.