A Decision That Inspires Action
December 1st, 2010 by INMED
Why would a young, successful healthcare professional intentionally serve in an inner city core? What would make him or her deliberately seek opportunities to care for the poor? The answers may inspire you!
Consider Jeremy Kirchoff. As a family medicine resident he enrolled in the INMED International Medicine Certificate, studying at the Baptist Medical Center in northern Ghana, West Africa. “My experience in Ghana contributed immensely to my desire to care for the underserved wherever they are located,” explains Jeremy. “In Africa I advanced my skills in crossing cultures as I interacted with people so very different from myself. I also sharpened my knowledge of advanced disease – for people usually don’t seek help except as a last resort.”
These skills continue to serve Jeremy well in his current role at Christ Community Health Services, primary-care health centers in Memphis’ most under-served neighborhoods. “Parallel to Ghana, my experience in Memphis is most remarkable for those role models along side whom I’m learning the nuances of caring for urban Americans.” At the first of the year, Jeremy and his wife Leah will move to Kansas City where he’ll be the first full-time physician at the new Hope Family Care Center, located in the city’s most vulnerable zone.
Jeremy offers a challenge: “Are you interested in this kind of career? Then find role models who are living the way you want to live. Follow their example. Seek out exemplary individuals who are doing the sort of work that’s on your heart. Let yourself be mentored by them.”
What about the financial implications of serving people who of very little means? “First of all,” replies Jeremy, “keep your debts very low so they won’t grow to dictate your later decisions. And be encouraged by the fact that though you won’t make the income of your peers, you will nevertheless be better off than most people.”
“Above all,” concludes Jeremy, “let your passion to serve and desire to follow God drive your decisions. I often think of Psalm 82:3 ‘Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.’ Pursuing the American Dream can become pretty empty. Instead, invest in people’s lives. Build your treasure in heaven. It’s not a hard decision.”
Get to know individuals like Jeremy Kirchoff at the INMED Exploring Medical Missions Conference. You will find members of exemplary healthcare ministries from both North America and the world’s other most neglected communities. You yourself may discover that locking arms together with them is indeed not a difficult decision.