The 2015 Summer Medical Institute

by Holly Favino May 10, 2015

The Gospels are rich with many examples of Jesus performing miraculous acts of healing. Despite our modern technology, advanced medicine, and increased healthcare access, many Philadelphians today lack resources, are homebound, or are just fearful of the cost of seeing a doctor. There are also many who do not know Christ. 

From June 27–July 18, twenty-six Christian medical, nursing, pharmacy, and other healthcare students will be going door-to-door in the dense urban communities of Kensington and Hunting Park in North Philadelphia. Called The Summer Medical Institute (SMI), this project is run by Medical Campus Outreach (a ministry of Tenth), in partnership with Esperanza Health Center (a Christian medical center in North Philadelphia). The students will provide needed health screens, education, and referrals to people in the community while sharing the love of Christ through conversation and prayer, referring those interested to local churches. 

Our burden is to bring practical and needed care while pointing people to the true Healer, as well as intensively and intentionally discipling the student participants through Bible study, daily prayer, debriefing, and focused teaching to help them center their identity in Christ in the midst of rigorous academic years.

This team is larger than we’ve had in the past few years, and we’re grateful for the interest coming from students across many states and teaching campuses. This year a contingent of participants and faculty from a Christian medical clinic in Tirana, Albania, will be participating with us to learn about our approach to Christian medical outreach. 

How can you help? 

  • Faculty. If you’re a medical professional and desire to share the love and good news of Christ in the community or enjoy providing informal relational mentoring to healthcare students as you accompany them in their work, come volunteer a day or more as an SMI faculty member (no additional training needed). Not only is it an unforgettable and meaningful opportunity to meet and serve our neighbors in North Philadelphia, but the relationships made with the students during SMI are so valuable. Some faculty enjoy their experience so much they join us for a week or more, and many return each year.
  • Cooks. We will have approximately 30 hungry people to feed each evening! We can use volunteer cooks each night to provide a meal for the group (we can reimburse you for your costs, if you keep the receipts). It’s a huge blessing for the teams to return to a delicious meal after a long day of walking through the heat and carrying heavy medical backpacks. We always provide a few students to help with the final prep work, and we also welcome the cooks to come and join us for dinner if they can, as the students share stories about the people they met. Meals can also be dropped off. 
  • Interpreters. We will need many substitute Spanish/English interpreters for our large group. While we do have regular community interpreters, we often need additional help with this.
  • Financial Support. Our budget this year is approximately $56,000, half of which is raised by student support, and the rest through grants and individual donations. 
  • Prayer. We seek God’s wisdom and grace and appreciate all of the prayer that covers this program. Pray for the community, that people’s needs will be met, lives led to Christ, and introduction made to the local churches. Pray for our students, that they will be spiritually strengthened and learn to have a heart for the underserved and the unsaved, wherever their career takes them. Pray for Esperanza Health Center, our church partners, our faculty, and our interpreters. 

If you have any questions or are interested in more details about serving SMI in any way, please contact the SMI office.

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