Impact Report No. 3: MedSend
NAME OF MINISTRY:
NAME OF MINISTRY CONTACT:
Rick Allen, President and CEO
DESCRIPTION OF MINISTRY:
Rick Allen believes there is a big gap in the preparation that many “sending organizations” provide for their missionaries. MedSend occupies a specialized niche because it will pay the student loans for medical professionals while they are serving in the mission field. That opens the way for younger professionals to go into the mission field after finishing their education. He presented to Barnabas members in February 2014.
After a young medical professional has been accepted by a mission agency, they are referred to MedSend for financing. Allen estimates he works with about 75 mission-sending organizations that offer varying degrees of mission-related training—and notes that medical professionals are a relatively minor fraction of the total number of missionaries sent into the field (no more than 10 percent). He estimates that MedSend is involved with about 80 percent of the medical missionaries.
Specialized training related to issues faced by medical workers is often overlooked. The gap that Allen is striving to identify is in the preparation for the realities of what the medical professionals will encounter in the mission field. Most will automatically and immediately be placed in leadership roles and, for example, must learn how to deal with health issues and limited resources with a Third World perspective in mind to say nothing of the native culture.
Rick’s goal is to develop the research to test whether the preparation gap that has been observed anecdotally actually exists and next, develop the training modules appropriate for various cultures and then to expand the reach of the training program via the web. Long-term, he envisions an institute focused on medical professionals.
THE BIG QUESTION:
How does MedSend confirm its belief that healthcare missionaries are leaving for their place of service less then fully prepared for what they will encounter and if that is correct how we do address the need on a global basis?
Partners suggested that Rick pull together a meeting of the sending agencies that utilize MedSend for their health professionals at their annual convention. Before the meeting, develop a survey for MedSend grant recipients (those preparing to go, those in the field, those who have returned home) plus representatives of the sending agencies. The survey results will provide discussion points. Action points were: find survey expert to create survey; execute survey; bring a team together to evaluate survey and develop discussion questions for conference breakouts; and develop and execute evaluation of meeting at conference.
FOLLOW-UP REPORT, FEBRUARY 2018:
Rick Allen attended the February meeting to personally testify to the power of the Ideation sessions. He said he walked in with one idea and walked out with another. In 2018, health care professionals still have access to almost any country on earth, even those persecuting Christians. (About 43 percent of the MedSend associates are serving in these countries.) By contrast, about half of the countries will not admit missionaries.
Last September, at the annual conference of sending agencies, Rick brought together 75 sending agencies to wrestle with how to select, prepare and care for medical professionals serving abroad. His goal continues to help professional break the five-year barrier because after that they will stay longer term.
He said that the Barnabas partnership was critical to helping MedSend influence the outcome of global health care.