Lay health workers trained by Siloam students

“I‘m too much glad to see you because you are Nepali.” Greetings like this one from a Nepali man bring joy to 19-year old Anita Nepal who loves helping people in the Nepalese community of Nashville.  Anita, born in a refugee camp in Nepal to Bhutanese parents, was recently trained as a lay health worker by pre-medical students participating in Siloam’s Community Health Immersion program. Nashville’s Nepali community – mostly made up of refugees from Nepal and Bhutan – appreciate the cross-cultural understanding that Anita brings as she teaches within her community on the health topics she recently learned.

“Many of the Nepali people do not understand the health care system in America,” says Anita who works full-time in housekeeping at a local hospital. They struggle to know how to make appointments to see a doctor or how to get medicine from a pharmacy because as Anita says, “… in Nepal there were no appointments or prescriptions…you just show up and ask for what you need.”

“I learned many things – I can help many…”

For Siloam’s six-week Community Health Immersion program, pre-medical students were recruited from around the country to live in a refugee apartment complex in southeast Nashville where they trained nine lay health workers like Anita from the neighborhood. Training topics included preventative care like oral health, nutrition, and exercise, along with health navigation topics like how insurance works and the difference between an emergency room and a primary care clinic. Beyond learning how to teach lay health workers, the pre-medical students also explored how to see the vocation of medicine as a calling and to see how to care for patients as whole persons as Jesus did.

The pre-medical students’ work with the lay health workers is making a lasting impact.  The oral health topic alone made an immediate impact on Anita’s family of five who were resettled a year ago in Nashville after spending 21 years in a refugee camp in Nepal. “We did not know about dental floss or how many times each day to brush our teeth or for how long,” Anita says. “Now we do. I learned many things – I can help many Nepali and Bhutanese people.”

Lay Health Workers and CHI Students pose outside their apartment - 2014 - cropped

Pre-medical students and lay health workers pose outside following a training session. Lay health workers include (L-R) Samson Sarki from Bhutan (in turquoise), Paulos Ezekiel from Eritrea (in purple), and Anita Nepal from Nepal (in blue and red). Pre-medical students (L-R back row) include Will Davies, Stewart Goodwin, Kenny Namkoong, Frances Cobb, Caleb Huber, Will Tucker, along with Reinie Thomas (kneeling), and Lauren Roddy (in blue on right). Pre-medical student Chelsea Travis is behind the lens!

2014 Community Service Award – The Siloam Institute

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.

 

Dr. Morgan Wills, President and CEO of Siloam Family Health Center and Mark McCaw, Siloam Institute Director receive the 2014 Community Service Award given by the Tennessee Medical Association.

Dr. Morgan Wills, President and CEO of Siloam Family Health Center and Mark McCaw, Siloam Institute Director receive the 2014 Community Service Award given by the Tennessee Medical Association.

 

Engage or Run?

The Siloam Institute recently hosted an educational series taught by Dr. Morgan Wills as part of this summer’s Community Health Immersion program.  Titled the “Health Care ReFramed: Biblical Theology of Healthcare,” the aim of this series is to re-frame the work of medicine with a practiced, experiential Christian theology of health care.

Embracing Cross 1One of the articles featured during this series was a reflection written by a medical student, Dr. Brian Lindman, who completed a rotation with Siloam several years ago.  His experiences as a former Vanderbilt student and seminary graduate give him keen understanding and raw accounts about the care-giving choices—and spiritual opportunities faced by physicians in training.  Yet his reflection also gives insight into the choices we make as believers to engage or run as a practice in daily living.  An engagement that Lindman defines as “a deliberate and ongoing battle to swim against the stream of forces that carry us towards complacency, apathy, faithlessness and unbelief.”

It’s through his experiences with brokenness that Dr. Lindman poignantly realizes:  “I see that faith is indeed a fight and that I am ill-­‐equipped to fight the fight relying on my own resources. I need the Spirit of God to fill me if I am to fight faithfully, love as I am called to love, engage the brokenness of the world with hope, and walk the narrow road that leads to the life ‘that is truly life.’ ”

He currently serves as a cardiologist at Washington University and gave this as part of an address at the commission service for Christian medical students in 2002.

You can read the full article here.

It has to mean something…right?

Sandals - follow me - httpclub.dx.comforumsforums.dxthreadid.1249031As 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.

Chris writes…
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 

 

Off with a bang!

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:

Commissioned to go!

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.

Dr. Morgan Wills anoints the CHI students for service in Jesus name.

Dr. Morgan Wills anoints the CHI students for service in Jesus name.

Chelsea Travis, Stewart Goodwin, and Will Tucker receive a blessing.

Chelsea Travis, Stewart Goodwin, and Will Tucker receive a blessing.

Frances Cobb is anointed and blessing is prayed over her.

Frances Cobb is anointed and a blessing is prayed over her.