Record Attendance at Healthcare Missions Conferences
Despite the growing fear surrounding the dangers of working overseas due to the Ebola virus and other risks, the number of healthcare professionals seeking to serve on the mission field continues to drastically increase.
The best proof of evidence is the growth of attendance at Christian Medical & Dental Associations’ annual pre-field training conferences, Orientation to Medical Missions. What started with only six attendees at the first conference less than 10 years ago has grown to a record number of attendees over two separate conferences. A total of 60 healthcare missionaries were trained this summer, with a third conference scheduled for March 19-22, 2015 to meet the increasing demand as more and more sending agencies turn to CMDA’s Center for Medical Missions for training.
CMDA’s CEO David Stevens, MD, said, “As this conference has grown and evolved, it has become an invaluable resource for career healthcare missionaries as they prepare to serve in far-reaching locations around the world.”
During the conferences, experienced healthcare missionaries share lessons they learned on the field during their first terms. Other topics include addressing fears, world religions and their impact on healthcare, medical evangelism and non-clinical roles healthcare missionaries have on the field. Plus, participants have the opportunity to ask anything they want during evening Q&A sessions.
And it doesn’t stop there. The Medical Mission Summit for executives of mission agencies involved in healthcare missions also had a record number of attendees this year, with 53 organizations represented among 88 attendees. Hosted this year at SIM and co-sponsored by CMDA and MedSend, this annual summit was formed several years ago because the Center for Medical Missions saw a need for networking and sharing best practices among sending organizations.
“Strategizing, brainstorming and studying issues together helps everyone,” stated Director for the Center for Medical Missions Susan Carter, BSN. “This year the focus was on how to improve pre-field training, on the field mentoring and retention. A psychiatrist from Mayo taught attendees how to maintain mental health in healthcare missionaries.”
This increased interest in healthcare missionary service is due to the focus on missions in CMDA’s 279 campus chapters, the Global Missions Healthcare Conference which attracts 2,500 participants (half of them students and residents) and CMDA’s many opportunities for short-term mission experience. Once they respond to God’s call, the Center for Medical Missions serves them throughout their missionary career. “Our goal is to help new healthcare missionaries experience the greatest possible success, effectiveness and contentment in responding to God’s call in healthcare missions. It’s exciting to help prepare them walk with them on this journey,” stated Carter.
And that journey starts way before the healthcare professional reaches the mission field. So the Center for Medical Missions provides continuing education and inspiration for healthcare missionaries in the form of two e-newsletters: the Your Call e-newsletter keeps the missions fire burning during the long years of preparation during school, residency and beyond, while the e-Pistle e-newsletter includes training, news and updates for those already serving. Through both e-newsletters, the Center for Medical Missions is reaching more than 3,000 people who are at some step on their journey to serve as healthcare missionaries.
The growth of these conferences and the steady increase of interest in healthcare missions is proof positive that Christian healthcare professionals all across the world are stepping out in faith and following in Christ’s footsteps to serve the least, the last and the lost. Are you ready to join them? Visit www.cmda.org/cmm or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get started on your journey to healthcare missions.