CMDA Philadelphia 2017 Fall Retreat


CMDA Philadelphia Fall Retreat

Remember the days when following Jesus was easier?  Whether you’re a student, practicing professional or somewhere in between, a life in healthcare makes it hard to pursue Christ with your whole heart.  Let alone look around you to serve others.  

If you’re like most, you want to keep growing in your relationship with God.  But it can feel overwhelming, and it’s easier to do the minimum, hoping it all gets better ‘someday’. Deep down, though, you know that ‘someday’ won’t be any easier.  If you’re going to pursue God, you’ve got to get started now, even when life is crazy.

That’s what this year’s CMDA Fall Retreat is all about.  We’ll provide a simple, biblical framework for following Jesus so that you’ll know how you’re doing, and, where you need to keep growing.  And we’ll do it together, in community, with others who understand what you’re going through.  

Our time away will help you reconnect with God and other believers, and refresh your sense of calling to serve Christ through healthcare.  We hope you’ll join us!

Contact information: Sharon Stoudt:; 856.524.2125.

Speaker Information: We will have a panel of various local professionals with us, and we hear teaching from God’s Word by pastors Matt Cohen and Bryan Stoudt.

Venue Information:  The Welcoming Place | 21 South 12th Street | Akron, PA 17501

(Approximately 1 hour 15 minutes west of the city in Lancaster County)

Schedule: We’re still putting finishing touches on the schedule, but in addition to our main sessions and panel, we’ll have plenty of time for rest (study if you must!), refreshment and fellowship.

Price includes 4 meals. Linens, towels, etc. are also all provided.

Students: $40 double occupancy / $55 single occupancy

Residents: $50 double occupancy / $65 single occupancy

Professionals: $60 double occupancy / $75 single occupancy

Children ages 4-12: $30

Children ages 13-17: $45

*You can arrive as early as 5pm. Dinner will be available from 6:00-7:00pm. Programming will begin at 7:15pm, but just come when you can on Friday night, we know everyone’s schedule is different.  (There will probably be leftovers you can heat up if you arrive after 7pm.)

New Professionals Group

Being a healthcare professional is anything but easy.

Many of the challenges you face are unique to your calling, or, at least significantly shaped by what you do.  Although you may have support through your church and believing colleagues, it’s vital to connect with others who understand the joys, and difficulties, you face.

That’s why we’ve started our first-ever group for healthcare professionals in the Philadelphia area.  We want this to be a safe place where you can share and make meaningful, life-giving connections.

Our next meeting will be Saturday, August 20th.  The exact time is yet to be determined, but (we promise) there will be food.

If you’d like to be added to our professionals email list and stay in the loop, just let us know through our contact page.

How Can We Serve You?

As the new academic year begins, we want to take this opportunity to welcome you to our city and healthcare community.  We’re so thankful that God has brought you here!

It truly is our privilege to help you grow in your connection to God, other Christians in healthcare, and your calling to serve those around you.

The brochure below will give you a quick overview of ways we can serve you, and, ways you might get involved.  (To expand the brochure, simply click the arrow at the lower, right-hand corner.)

One notable omission is our brand-new professionals group, which is designed to help professionals connect and support each other.  Residents welcome!

Feel free to reach out to us with your comments, questions and ideas through our contact form.  Hope to meet you soon!

The Affordable Healthcare Act & You

Christian Medical & Dental Associations CEO Dr. David Stevens and CMDA member Dr. Sandy Christiansen will join Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Representative Tom Price and others to discuss the Affordable Care Act tonight, March 27 beginning at 8:00 PM EDT. Dr. Stevens will discuss the effects the Act will have upon physicians.

You can view the webcast at this link. Registration is required.

CMDA Dental Student Conference!

Hey dental students!  CMDA is working hard to serve you better, so I wanted to let you know about an upcoming conference you may find interesting.  You can learn more, and register online, here, but here are some quick details:

If you are a dental student, we invite you to join us for this exciting conference at CMDA’s headquarters. Space is limited, so don’t wait to reserve your spot. This conference is brought to you by CMDA’s Dental Ministries in partnership with CMDA’s Campus Ministries and Dr. Peter E. Dawson.

We’ll spend the weekend “Setting the Vision” for dental leadership with talks by leaders in the dental profession, dental missions and student ministries. During the sessions, we’ll be exploring Christ-centered topics to help you grow as a leader. Dentists throughout the country are paying big money to attend seminars by some of our scheduled speakers. As a student participant in this symposium, you will have the added benefit of personal interactions with these leaders throughout the weekend.

The total cost of the symposium is $200, which includes meals, hotel accommodations and the conference. Thanks to special donors who desire to see you impacted by this weekend, we have a number of $175 scholarships available to help cover costs. Click here to apply for a scholarship and then be sure to select the $25 registration when you register to save your place.

CMDA Winter Conference Starts Tomorrow!

As I write, the first of 160 students, physicians and other healthcare workers from around the Mid-Atlantic region are getting ready for our annual CMDA Winter Conference at Sandy Cove.  Located on the shores of the Chesapeake, Sandy Cove provides an ideal backdrop for a restful and renewing getaway.

I’ll update you on all that God does during our time here later, but I want to ask you to keep me, and everyone here, in prayer through Monday.  Here are some specifics:

  • Pray for God to pour out His Spirit on our time here – everything that’s good, and lasting, comes from Him.
  • Pray that God would give those who come deep rest.  The students in particular are exhausted from a grueling semester, and another one is already underway.
  • Pray for me as I have conversations throughout the weekend.  About 45 are here from Philadelphia, so this is a strategic time of connection for me.   Pray that I would be sensitive to God’s Spirit on a moment-by-moment basis!
  • Pray for our speakers, Drs. Paul & Susan Lim, physicians who have both domestic and foreign medical experience.  Their theme concerns joy in the Christian life, something we all need more of!
  • Pray that God would use the Christian community here to strengthen, encourage and challenge itself.  We are trusting that God will be at work during simple interactions over mealtimes, free time, and late-night talks.

That’s all for now.  Thank you so much for standing with me in prayer!


Two Great Resources for Spirituality & Patient Care

Ever want to talk with patients about things that matter, but wonder if it’s OK? Or, how to do it? Dr. Bob Snyder, who teaches people how to do this internationally, recommends Harold Koenig’s “Spirituality in Patient Care (2nd ed.)” and Graham McCall’s “At A Given Moment” (published by Christian Medical Fellowship – UK) as two great resources.

The description of Dr. Koenig’s work is especially intriguing not only in content, but also because it includes a very practical curriculum you can work through to make it personal:

“This landmark handbook for health professionals interested in identifying and addressing the spiritual needs of patients has been significantly revised and expanded. Over the past five years, since the first edition was written, there has been increased research on the relationships among religion, spirituality, and health, and further discussions on the application of these findings to clinical practice. Every section of the book has been rewritten and updated with current research. “I think this version will be my most important contribution to the field of spirituality and health,” says Dr. Koenig. “Every bit of what I know about the integration of spirituality into clinical practice, learned over twenty years, is contained in this book.”

Koenig addresses the whys, hows, whens, and whats of patient-centered integration of spirituality into patient care, including details on the health-related sacred traditions for each major religious group. He provides health care professionals with the training necessary to screen patients sensitively and competently for spiritual needs, begin to communicate with patients about these issues, and learn when to refer patients to trained spiritual-care professionals who can competently address spiritual needs. New sections specifically address mental-health professionals, nurses, chaplains and pastoral counselors, social workers, and occupational and physical therapists. A ten-session model course curriculum on spirituality and health care for medical students and residents is provided, with suggestions on how to adapt it for the training of nurses, social workers, and rehabilitation specialists.”

Interfaith Forum at Drexel

Dear friends,

Just wanted to thank you for praying for our Interfaith Forum at Drexel.  By God’s grace, it was a tremendous success, with over 70 in attendance, most of whom were not coming from a Christian perspective.  With dinner being served beforehand, the evening was characterized by a friendly, relational tone, but the key issues underlying our topic, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), were still covered frankly and thoroughly.

Our speaker for the evening, pastor-author Dr. Paul Tripp, did a marvelous job of broadening the discussion to focus on the “real” issues at stake: how we view God and each other, what constitutes life, and how medical technology may or may not be used in the service of God and His kingdom.  The “buzz” from the students afterward was very positive, which was encouraging.

In light of this, please pray for the following:

  • that God would use the evening to change the conception many have of Christianity, Christians and what following Christ is all about.
  • that the Drexel students would take the opportunity to use the evening as a springboard to have spiritual discussions with their friends on campus.
  • that other campus leaders, in attendance for the event, would get excited about hosting similar events at their own campuses in the upcoming academic year.

As you know, sharing Christian faith on the medical campus is frowned upon, but forums like these have been very successful and warmly welcomed.  Our city’s medical campuses belong to God, and He is doing exciting work there!

For the King,


He Humbled Himself

The Answers:

“I wasn’t popular in high school, so sometimes it’s tempting to let everyone know I’m studying to be a doctor.”

“When my wife interacts with people, and they hear, ‘My husband is going to be a doctor’, they treat her differently.”

“I’m think I’m pretty humble when I deal with other people, but when I’m alone, sometimes I think, ‘I’m better than them’.”

The Question: “Do you ever struggle with pride in knowing that you’re going to be a doctor someday?”

From these honest answers during our small group bible study time today, it’s clear to me that pride is a real temptation for our students as they go through their training.

Our passage today, Philippians 2:1-11, reminded everyone of the perfect, if not easy, antidote to the pride that keeps us from loving God and others.  “Though he was in the form of God… he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

It was a powerful time where God reminded these future physicians of what they already know, but struggle to remember, under the pressure-cooker of medical training – our identity and worth comes from Jesus, not what we know or accomplish.

This is why I’m there – to build bridges between God’s Word and the everyday ‘world’ the students inhabit.  His truth is intensely practical and reaches into the most important corners of our lives.  By his mercy, I pray that these students will make it through their training free of pride and arrogance, and ready to minister to their patients with the humility of their Savior.

Thank you for your partnership that makes this possible.  God is using you to raise up the next generation of Christian physicians!

Under mercy,

Bryan & Sharon

For prayer/praise:

* Praise for God’s work in and through the students.  Both of my primary campuses, Drexel and PCOM, are off to great starts, and have roughly 30 students involved.  Please pray for weekly bible studies, large group meetings, and outreach opportunities.

* Pray for me as I meet with individual students and the campus leadership teams.  I need wisdom to help them stay focused on Christ’s priorities for their lives and campuses.  Since the students are intensely busy, I need to respect that, yet challenge them to keep moving forward.

* Praise for a great month of support-raising.  God has provided approximately $400 in new monthly support.  We still have a long way to go, though, so please keep praying for new connections and fruit.  Pray especially for these next few months, when our account balance will be tighter.  Giving information can be found on the right side of this page.

* On a personal note, please pray for our family’s health.  Just today we found out that Matthew (our older, autistic son) likely has swine flu/H1N1.  He really enjoys our younger, infant son, so it will be challenging to try and keep them apart over the next 5-7 days until the risk of contagion passes.

Christian Physicians Host Webcast on Healthcare Reform

The current debate surrounding healthcare reform can be confusing at times.  If you’d like a Christian perspective on this important issue, tune in tonight at 8:30 PM to a webcast (details below) featuring leaders from my partner organization, CMDA.  It should be very helpful in sorting through the key tenets of the debate.

Christian Doctors Hold Webcast on Healthcare Reform

BRISTOL, Tenn., Sept. 28 /Christian Newswire/ — The Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA,, the nation’s largest faith-based organization of doctors announced they will hold a free Webcast on healthcare reform, “Health Care Reform – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009 at 8:30 PM/EDT. The Webcast can be accessed by going to Freedom2Care, an ad-hoc coalition of conscience-affirming organizations is a sponsor of the event.

Dr. Gene Rudd, Sr. VP for CMDA will moderate the event. New Jersey Congressman Christopher Smith; David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics), CEO for Christian Medical & Dental Associations; Douglas Johnson, Director for National Right to Life Committee; Jonathan Imbody, CMDA VP for Government Relations; David Christensen, Senior Director for Congressional Affairs, Family Research Council and Claude Allen, former Domestic Policy Advisor to the President, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will be discussing HR3200.

“Initially, the Webcast was planned for our members, but after hearing an overwhelming response for a larger distribution from our members, the broadcast will now be open to the general public,” states Dr. David Stevens. “I hope many of the media outlets that use CMDA as their trusted source on health issues, will let their listeners know of this opportunity.”

Questions can be sent in advance to

CMDA is a national organization with over 80 ministries, including international missions, ministry on medical and dental school campuses, continuing medical/dental education and a policy arm that educates members, the church and the public on bioethical issues.