Vanderbilt 4th year medical student Andrew Wu shares about his training experience at Siloam. Click the video to watch.
Whole-person care is a word that gets thrown around inside the walls of our clinic daily. Inspired by the way that Jesus healed in the Gospels, we recognize that when a person is ill, more is ill than only the physical denominators of their health, but their feelings, emotions, heart and spirit also play a part.
Dan Fountain illustrated this brilliantly in an address he gave to the World Congress of the ICMDA in Durban in July 1998, drawing from a case study found in Mark 5: 25-34 – the healing of the woman with the hemorrhage.
Considered unclean by the social structure that surrounded her, her daily condition was one of abandonment, rejection, and despair. Her life became defined by her illness and her hope for a cure had long been extinguished. Yet hope was awakened the day that she heard stories about this man named Jesus and the accounts of the way He healed people. With no other direction out, she knew that she needed to somehow encounter this man for her healing.
One day she hears that He’s passing through her town and she steps outside of the boundaries of what was allowed by her society. She, unclean, reaches out as Jesus walks by and touches the hem of His garment, instantly healed.
Dan Fountain continues the narrative: “He [Jesus] knew she had been physically healed. We doctors are usually delighted when we have healed someone physically. Could Jesus not be content with that? No, because the woman herself had not been healed; her life had not yet been restored. Jesus wanted to heal her as a whole person, so he called her back to him. As she lay prostrate on the ground before Jesus, waiting to hear words of condemnation, she heard instead two absolutely incredible words [“My daughter…”], and these two words healed her.
… What heals the broken heart and the wounded spirit? What heals the heart is simply a word spoken to the depths of the spirit of the sick person. It is a word that is understood by the spirit of the person in such a way as to resolve the psycho-spiritual pathology – the fear, the conflicts, the anxiety, the guilt, the despair. When this word heals the inner pathology, the whole person can be healed.”
The question is: Is it possible for us to heal our patients in this way? And if so, how?
Beginning November 18th, Siloam Family Health Center will be featuring a lunch discussion on whole-person care every 3rd Tuesday of the month. All members of Siloam staff, volunteers, trainees and members of the Nashville medical community are welcome to attend.
An article will be selected that focuses on what it means to offer whole-person care with Dr. Morgan Wills facilitating a discussion around the topic presented.
If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to me at Rachel.firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the reading for the discussion and bring your lunch to join us while we discuss what it means to offer whole-person care.
This week we will be spending time discussing “The Healing Team” from Dan Fountain’s book God, Medicine, and Miracles.
If you would like to read the full length of his 1998 address, we encourage you to read the article here: http://www.cmf.org.uk/publications/content.asp?context=article&id=694
Those who work in healthcare are no strangers to the struggles their patients face in the areas of suffering and addiction. As ones whose work is to heal, we are brushing against the hurt underlying the physical symptoms we diagnose, but how do we navigate the messy waters of another person’s suffering and their methods of coping?
It was G.K. Chesterton who once wrote, “The more truly we can see life as a fairy-tale, the more clearly the tale resolves itself into war with the dragon who is wasting fairyland.” Through the lens of a story, we are often provided an understanding to our own human psychology that provides unprecedented value to our approach to healing.
Joseph Pearce, writer of the recent book, “Bilbo’s Pilgrimage” and Director of the Aquinas Center for Faith and Culture, will be speaking on the connection between Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series and its way of imaginatively reflecting on reality in a lecture titled, “Suffering, Addiction and Healing in The Lord of the Rings.” This lecture, presented by St. Thomas Health, will be held on October 21st at Saint Cecilia Academy on the Dominican Campus.
If you live in the Nashville area, we encourage you to consider attending Joseph Pearce’s lecture and to be inspired to see the struggles & addictions that you and your patients face in a whole new light.
Please view this flyer for more information about the event and the availability of CME.
Contact email@example.com for more information and to RSVP.
As a Christian medical professional, treading the waters where faith and medicine intersect can seem murky with the feeling of being ill-equipped to approach the topic of faith with patients. Yet it is this patient–provider relationship that provides such rich ground to plant seeds of spiritual hope in patients as they face their hours of deepest hurt and fear.
On the weekend of February 6-7th, Siloam will host Grace Prescriptions – a conference designed specifically for Christian medical practitioners to become equipped to integrate their faith with their practice. Formerly known as “The Saline Solution,” Grace Prescriptions is a training paradigm pioneered by the Christian Medical and Dental Association. Written by Bill Peel and Dr. Walt Larimore, the curriculum is designed to explore the topic of spirituality in healthcare and equip those of us in the medical profession to integrate faith into our practice.
We invite you to come and be a part of this weekend of gathering with other Christian healthcare practitioners and their teams from around the Nashville region. For more information, please visit our Events page as we announce further updates.
Registration opens October 6th.
At our Spring 2014 Fundraising event, Siloam Family Health Center had the pleasure of featuring Wendell Berry speak on “The Health of a Community.”
As a Kentucky farmer, poet, essayist, and novelist, Wendell Berry may seem like an unlikely voice to speak into the matters of health and the work of medicine, but when one leans in to hear him speak, there’s an uncanny sense of insight that unveils the shadows of our modernity and brings truths to light. His perception introduces a new way of thinking about health, where the body is more than a sum of its parts, like a machine, where the work of medicine is something much more meaningful than the tinkering of that “machine.”
His essay, “Health is Membership,” explores this idea even more as Wendell Berry wrestles between the art and science of healing.
“I take literally the statement in the Gospel of John that God loves the world. I believe that the world was created and approved by love, that it subsists, coheres, and endures by love, and that, insofar as it is redeemable, it can be redeemed only by love. I believe that divine love, incarnate and indwelling in the world, summons the world always toward wholeness, which ultimately is reconciliation and atonement with God.”
With this thought that “health is wholeness,” Wendell proposes the notion that the work of medicine comes from love and can no longer fit within the confines of standardized practice alone—that seeking efficiency within medicine is a deficit when it allies with the paradigm of human health as a science alone, that the work of medicine should come from a place of love if it’s goal is healing in the truest sense of the word.
Delivered as a speech at a conference in Louisville, Kentucky in October 17, 1994, we invite you to read the full essay here.
The Siloam Institute was recently recognized by the Tennessee Medical Association for its work training the next generation of health care practitioners in whole-person care. Dr. Morgan Wills and Mark McCaw attended an awards ceremony where the video below was shown.
As I think about the theme, “Come and see,” used for Siloam’s Community Health Immersion program, I am struck by what it means to be a follower of Jesus. It is a journey more than a destination. The Siloam Institute’s work with students and residents is largely to teach them to embrace the journey as they become practitioners of whole-person care.
Below, I share an insightful reflection on John 1: (29-34) 35-42 by Reverend Chris Adams.
Many years ago a friend taught me an interesting statistic about two words in our Bible. Many of us call ourselves Christians to describe our faith. We use this term with those we share faith with and also we use this term with others who do not. The word Christian in Greek, Χριστιανός, only occurs in all the New Testament three (3) times. That’s it. Just three.
However, the word we see for the first time in John’s gospel today, in Greek μαθητής, occurs two hundred sixty three (263) times in the New Testament. That’s a lot more than three. For my friend, this had great significance. “It has to mean something… Right?” he would say.
The word disciple means to follow, as in a pupil with a teacher. It’s an action word. In the ancient near east, often a disciple would literally walk so closely behind their teacher that the dust from the teacher’s sandals would get on the disciple. Hence the reference to that by Jesus. A Christian is simple a descriptor, a designation that one follows the faith so named. The words are clearly related, but there is not the same sense of action.
In today’s lesson there is the urging of Jesus to “Come and See…” If the disciples want to see what Jesus is doing and what he teaches, they must come and see. There is no sense, at least in this story, that they will ever arrive at a destination or achieve a certain position of status. They will simply be disciples, those that walk closely behind Jesus and follow wherever He goes. They will become known as Christians to the world.
We too are known in that way. However, I wonder if calling ourselves disciples instead of Christians sometimes would be more helpful to describe our way of life? Ours is a journey, not a destination. Our way is to follow our teacher, to seek out what the teacher is doing pointing others to Him. Our way is not to be the teacher. Our place is behind Jesus and not in front of Him.
It’s just two words that mean similar things to most people. However perhaps the difference has great significance. “It has to mean something… Right?”
More on Reverend Chris Adams can be found at: www.pastorchrisadams.com
It has been quiet this week since our nine CHI participants (7 pre-meds and 2 directors) left town after spending an exciting six-weeks with us on a Community Health Immersion. As we celebrate our nation’s independence this weekend, let’s also celebrate the ministry of presence that our freedoms allow us to carry out. Check out this video that the students put together as a celebration of how God is moving in their lives as they prepare to be future physicians:
The last evening of the Community Health Immersion the students were anointed with oil and commissioned with a blessing to allow their study of medicine to reflect the healing love of Jesus.
Guest blogger Lauren Roddy, one of seven students in this summer’s Community Health Immersion, writes…
“ 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
These verses from Matthew 25 are just one example of how we, as Christians, are explicitly called to care for and minister to the poor. The participants in this year’s CHI Program and the staff at Siloam are seeking to answer this call, but what if our best efforts to help are actually hurting those in poverty? What if our desires to be the hands and feet of God are preventing others from doing the same?
“What if our efforts are hurting those in poverty?”
The CHI Program, in addition to providing opportunities to shadow Siloam staff and directly engage in community outreach, has several settings in which the students can begin to discern what their future service in medicine will look like. One such forum is a 6-week small group study on the book When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert. The book offers a framework for rethinking not only how we address the needs related to poverty but also to redefine the term completely.
Instead of thinking about poverty in terms of a lack of material wealth, When Helping Hurts challenges us to think of it as a product of broken relationships – with our own being, others, God, and the rest of Creation. Therefore, true poverty alleviation is a process in which both the materially poor and non-poor work together to rectify each of our broken relationships. The goal, therefore, of working with the materially poor is to reconcile these foundational relationships and in such a way that all are empowered to perform the work in God’s kingdom that they are meant to do.
What good is relief if we’ve crushed the confidence
needed for true development?
Those of you not familiar with these concepts may be shocked to hear phrases like “our poverty” and “our broken relationships”, but through this process, I’ve learned to recognize the places in my own life where relationships have been broken. When Helping Hurts advocates for poverty alleviation that focuses on building on the God-given assets already present within individuals and communities. In my own life, I often am afraid to “brag” about my assets, talents, and ideas, and as a result, fail to fully achieve what I am made to do. Imagine how much more debilitating that fear must be for someone who has been made to feel as though their lack of material wealth makes them worthless. To then tell this person that we have all of the answers to fixing their poverty strips them of the already limited power they have. What good is relief if we’ve crushed the confidence needed for true development?
Framing poverty in terms of relationships just makes sense to me now. Not only do we belong to a relational God, but medicine is also such a relational field. Our primary focus should always be on the empowerment of our patients. A piece of this certainly is restoring physical health, but helping others (and ourselves) feel empowered and purposeful is how real growth occurs. I hope that my friends and family will consider reading the book, engaging in conversation with me about these ideas, and holding me accountable to living this out!
“Share the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.”
– St. Francis of Assisi