These were the words recently spoken by Steve Noblett, the Executive Director of Christian Community Health Fellowship (CCHF), a national network of 350 clinics committed to living out the gospel through healthcare among the poor.
Steve shared with us data from a recent national survey. The survey indicated that only 43 of the 350 clinics provide a rotational opportunity for health professional trainees to obtain credit for a clinical rotation at their site. Among these 43 clinics, 50% of the training capacity nationally is carried by two clinics: Christ Community Health Services in Memphis and Siloam Family Health Center.
In his blog on “How to Kill a Movement,” Steve suggests that what doctors need to do is to work harder – see more patients – yet, disregard the need to take time to mentor the next generation of health care providers. This will kill a movement of students who are clamoring to see how the gospel can be lived out through healthcare.
Last year at Siloam, more than 80 trainees gained basic clinical exposure with 32 of the trainees gaining a deepened formal exposure of a month or longer. This deepened clinical exposure is critical to keeping the movement alive.
This deepened exposure at Siloam models health care for people in poverty, cross-cultural care, and care from a whole-person perspective.
But most importantly, this deepened exposure involves working alongside an interdisciplinary team of Christian providers who have made the personal commitment to mentor the next generation as they share the love of Christ by serving those in need through health care.
It is our hope that through the modeling that the Siloam Institute offers and the curriculum it is developing that all 350 clinics will eventually offer deepened clinical exposures addressing the whole person.
Outcomes of expanding training capacity at faith-based clinics will have practical and spiritual implications which both lead toward the ministry of justice that Jesus preached.
Practically speaking, our nation’s health care system is under duress due to so few doctors choosing to go into primary care and even fewer choosing to serve the poor. Spiritually speaking, Jesus’ gospel chastises the religious hierarchy for its feeble attempts to care for the materially and spiritually needy.
It truly is of national importance for our sister clinics AND the entire body of Christ to step up and support avenues for mentorship of the next generation to live out the gospel through healthcare among the poor.