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Healthcare professionals gather at Liberty for missional medicine conference

(Photos by Jessie Jordan)

The Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) brought around 350 present and future professionals in Christian healthcare together on Liberty University’s campus over the weekend to discuss missional medicine as part of its Remedy East 24- Healthcare on Mission conference.

The conference, held on Friday and Saturday, was based in the Montview Alumni Ballroom and featured plenary and breakout sessions with speakers representing a variety of roles and experiences, all with the theme of serving Christ through missional living. There were 27 exhibitors present to provide avenues for entering missional living, and representatives from organizations like Samaritan’s Purse, MedSend, and Medical Education International were also in attendance.

The conference was open to undergraduate students, graduate students, trainees, and healthcare professionals; students and trainees received a discounted rate. Attendance grew from last year, the first year the conference was held on campus. An estimated two-thirds of this year’s attendees were associated with Liberty.

President Costin was the first plenary speaker of the conference, preceded by a worship session led by Liberty Worship Collective and an introduction from Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) Dean Dr. Joseph Johnson, D.O.

President Costin charged attendees to use their gifts to be a remedy to others and to be bold representatives of their organizations and God in the healthcare field. Costin, who served our country in the United States Air Force for 36 years, said his mother would often remind him that the words on his uniform meant something more — with “Costin” sewn onto his chest, he served each day as a representative of his family’s name and, by bearing the words “United States Air Force,” he represented, like all military members, an entire country of citizens who were counting on him. Likewise, as he told the healthcare professionals in the room, they represent their medical practice, their past patients, and their knowledge of the human body.

“I want you to consider how you intend to use the education, the experience, the gifts that you have, because I know from great experience that you don’t get to (professional healthcare) unless you are gifted beyond the average,” he said. “You are in the midst now of an opportunity God has given you to be a remedy. You don’t just provide a remedy; I would suggest to you that you are a remedy.”

When patients are scared and uncertain, Costin explained, healthcare professionals are there to help.

Liberty President Dondi Costin was the first plenary speaker of the conference.

“God made you gifted and skilled for a reason, and that reason is not to primarily benefit yourself. That reason is to benefit scared people like me who need your expertise. For reasons only He knows, (God) has bestowed upon you these gifts, and the first thing you should understand about these gifts is that you are a steward of them for the good of others and the glory of God.”

Costin cited the parable in Matthew 25 of three servants who are entrusted with different amounts of talents (money) by their master. The servant who received five talents and the servant who received two talents both invested their amounts and doubled the amount, whereas the servant with one talent merely buried it. When he returned, the master thanks the first two men, telling them they will be trusted with more in the future, but the master calls the last man “wicked and lazy.”

“That’s something that is so special about the Lord: He sees each one of us as individuals, and he treats each of us consistent with the gifts He has given us,” he said. “Whether you are a five-talent person or a two-talent person, your job is the same: to get into your space and be a remedy for others, an answer for somebody’s prayers. If you do with what He’s given you what He expects you to do, He will reward you and give you opportunities to bless others.”

“For reasons that I don’t understand, God has chosen people like you and me to do His will and take care of healing in this moment,” Costin said in closing. “Jesus Christ refers to himself as The Great Physician, and he has deputized each of you to step into the room and not just provide the remedy, but to be the remedy. On behalf of every patient: live up to the name(s) on your shirt, but most of all, live up to the name above all other names, who has called you to be a remedy.”

Liberty was also represented through a plenary speech by Dr. Gineska V. De Castillo, M.D., director of Liberty’s online Master of Public Health program, along with select breakout sessions led by Liberty faculty and administrators, including School of Behavioral Sciences Dean Dr. Kenyon Knapp and Counseling Professor Dr. Jeannee Brooks, John W. Rawlings School of Divinity Professor for Theology and Global Studies Dr. Chris Gnanakan, School of Nursing Professor Lisa Gazan, LUCOM Chair of Behavioral Sciences Dr. Linda Mintle, and School of Law Assistant Professor of Law Natalie Rhoads.

Breakout session topics included preventing burnout for students and trainees, world religions’ views on suffering, pushing through the enemy’s daily obstacles to serving God, the role of trauma in addiction, the intersection of faith and public health, and having a Christian conscience in the hostile climate of modern healthcare.

Founded in 1931, CMDA provides programs and services that supports its mission to “change hearts in healthcare” with a current membership of over 13,000 healthcare professionals. CMDA addresses policies on healthcare issues, conducts overseas medical education and evangelism projects, coordinates a network of Christian healthcare professionals for fellowship and professional growth, sponsors student ministries in medical, dental, PA, and other healthcare training schools, distributes educational resources, hosts marriage and family conferences, provides developing world missionary healthcare professionals with continuing education, and conducts academic exchange programs overseas.

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