|CWRU Med Students Practice
by George Mason
How beautiful that the Christ, who spoke creation
into existence, repeatedly spoke healing into the lives of the people He
met. It was no accident that the same Lord who uttered the earth, sun and
stars into being chose physical healings as His favorite method of
displaying the awesome power of His grace. From the leprous, to the
palsied, to the blind, lame, and hemorrhaging, our Lord purposefully
sought people in the throes of their frailty to bring them to a place of
health and wholeness. Why? Because then, as now, hearts and lives seem
most open when they?re facing sickness or death.
Some 20 centuries later, the great physician is
still in the business of healing hearts and bodies?still in the business
of working through frailties to demonstrate his sovereignty. Today he
shares this healing work with members of his body strategically placed in
the medical, dental, and health care fields. While work in the field of
medicine and dentistry has never been more promising, it has never been
more complicated and fraught challenges. Thankfully, Christian health care
professionals have found an ally in their common struggle against disease,
sickness, death and the rigors of a medical career. The ally they have
found is the power of God manifest through the ministry of the Christian
Medical and Dental Society, CMDS.
Begun in 1931 by a small group of medical students
at Northwestern University Medical School in Illinois, CMDS is an
international organization with over 14,000 members and student chapters
on 96% of our nation?s medical campuses; 63% of our dental campuses. In
northeastern Ohio, student chapters can be found on the campus of Case
Western Reserve University and the Northeast Ohio College of Medicine.
According to Phyllis Nsiah-Kumi, founder and past president of the CWRU
CMDS, ?When I arrived at CWRU, there was not an active chapter of CMDS
here. So I looked it up on the Internet and what I found was exciting.
Medicine as ministry; that was my heart?s cry.? Together with Allan
Harmerk, the Midwest Regional Director of the Christian Medical and Dental
Society, Phyllis re-established a chapter at Case Western with the help of
the Holy Spirit and the backing of a solid core of committed Christian
The vision of the founding students was simple:
they were to be Christians first and foremost and then use their medical
skills for the kingdom. As they saw it, their need was for fellowship,
accountability, prayer, and evangelism. Not much has changed since those
early days?the goals are virtually identical. What has changed, however,
is the size of the group and the effectiveness of their outreach. An
example CWRU CMDS vitality and the Lord?s blessing upon the group is the
hiring of a full-time area director. And if ever there was a match between
background, abilities, desire and job requirements, Scott Phillips, the
director is it.
Phillips, whose father was a physician and whose
wife Shelly, is beginning her own medical residency program, (this after a
12-year career as a nurse), has been in the thick of the medical field
environment for as long as he can remember. After accepting Christ as his
savior at age 22, Phillips attended seminary and received his Master of
Divinity. With that and his family background and comfort level with
physicians and the medical field, he began a career in hospital chaplaincy.
Behind it all, the Lord was moving to bring together Scott and the men and
women of CMDS to do a mighty work in northern Ohio.
When it comes to work, there are four major areas
of CMDS activity: fellowship, evangelism, prayer, and accountability. Of
those four, evangelism seems to be the area of greatest promise and
impact. This, according to Phillips, is due mainly to status and title.
?The title of Doctor, at least now in this day and age, is still ?magic.?
There is a certain authority and status given to men and women who hold
that title. People still listen to and trust their doctors. Born again
doctors and nurses who wish to use their gift for the kingdom are finding
a ready, willing, and listening audience to minister to.? Research bears
In a recent study published in the Journal of
Family Practice, 77% of respondents indicated they would like their
physicians to consider their spiritual needs; 48% were open, even desirous
of having their physicians pray with them. During the initial work up and
the patient interview, many physicians are now taking a spiritual as well
as physical history. They are asking such questions as, ?Do you have a
church you attend??, ?Do you have a pastor you confide in??, ?Is
prayer a part of your life?? depending on the answers, some physicians
are following up with, ?I happen to believe in the power of prayer in
healing and in circumstances such as yours, would you like me to pray with
you?? Boldness to be sure, but again, boldness born out of what we know
to be true. True not only from the spiritual point of view but also from
According to Phillips, ?Top medical studies and
journals are pointing again and again to the link between spirituality and
health. These studies consistently show a positive connection between
faith and health. Part of my responsibility and teaching is to demonstrate
to physicians and dentists that the data support an approach to health
care that includes the almighty.?
How far we have come. In the past it was considered
unethical to incorporate one?s morality into a medical practice. Today,
however, science has demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that strong
faith is conducive to strong health. In fact, a case can be built that
failure to incorporate spiritual health into the overall health care plan
of a patient is failure to provide complete health care. This is good news
for the Christian physician since, not only is it OK to bring Jesus into
the health care equation, it is essential!
This wholesale shift in medical thinking, this
renewed interest in things spiritual reflects our society?s longing for
something of substance, something of meaning, something, or rather,
someone you and I know to be Jesus. Responding to this growing national
concern and increased visibility on the national level. CMDS will soon
open an office in Washington, D.C.. More and more the professionals in
CMDS are looked to as the ?go to? people for issues concerning
medicine and faith especially in controversial areas such as abortion,
stem cell research, cloning, and doctor assisted suicide. While they are
viewed as speaking from the Christian medical perspective, their testimony
is well received and respected because of how they present it. They are
professional people who don?t walk in waiving bibles or wearing huge
crosses. They appear primarily to speak as medical professionals and when
the opportunity arises, they weave into their testimony a biblical
perspective on the medical question up for discussion.
Another area of respect and acceptance is the field
of medical missions. There are some countries that would never accept a
Christian missionary, yet they will gladly welcome medical professionals.
Time and again a team of CMDS physicians and nurses will move about a
country ministering to body and soul alike. These open doors are gifts
from the Lord and wonderful opportunities to preach the gospel to all the
world. An important and popular service feature of CMDS support staff in
Bristol, Tennessee is the complete planning and handling of details for
physicians wishing to participate in short term mission work.
The Christian Medical & Dental Society is a
blessing to the body, the spirit, and the city. How wonderful to see that
what began here as a student?s desire to serve her Lord has blossomed
into a tree that bears so much fruit.
If you would like additional information about the
Christian Medical & Dental Society, or if you are a health care
professional interested in being a part of this vibrant ministry, contact
Scott Phillips at 440.934.2424, or via e-mail at, cmdsohio@IOL13.com