NALERIGU, Ghana (IMB) – Anna Leigh Breedlove spent the fall engaged in what she calls “one of the best and most challenging experiences of my life.” The physician’s assistant (PA) student spent eight weeks in Nalerigu, Ghana, working at the Baptist Medical Centre through the International Mission Board’s Global Health Rotation program.
When she began the rotation in Oct. 2021, she was a final year PA student. She has since graduated from the program.
While there, Breedlove was responsible for checking on patients during rounds, helping to determine the care they needed, and then assisting the attending physician, Dr. Heidi Haun, in the operating room or helping the operating room staff with other procedures. As different teams came to volunteer, Breedlove also got the opportunity to work alongside them.
In her blog about her time in Nalerigu, Breedlove shared examples of how the work was rewarding, ranging from getting to be a big part of the healing process of a struggling mother and seeing her personality transform to learning to pull teeth alongside a dental team. She also shared how she felt the burden of being an “(almost) healthcare provider” and how the decisions she made directly influenced the outcome of patients.
One thing that continually stuck out to Breedlove was the need for medical care, specifically in areas like Ghana where it is just not easily accessible.
“This trip opened my eyes to what long-term mission work looks like,” Breedlove said. “While only there for two months, I had the opportunity to see what it was like to live in a different culture, practice medicine and serve in a community that truly needed it. I was able to see the church in action in Nalerigu, meet other believers from around the world and help Dr. Haun as much as I could.”
Breedlove will begin a job in her hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in trauma surgery soon. Although she will begin her medical career stateside, “I believe that this trip continued to confirm God’s calling on my life and plan to continue to be involved with missions in the future,” she said.
As she hones her medical skills, she’s also looking forward to supporting missionaries who are currently on the field and preparing herself for wherever God leads her in the future.
Global Health Rotation
The IMB’s Global Health Rotation program is an opportunity for Southern Baptist medical, dental and PA students and residents to serve internationally in a mission setting for four or more weeks.
In addition to being a member of a Southern Baptist church, students must be in their third year of medical or dental school or in their final year of PA school to apply to the program. Candidates must be recommended by the dean of the medical, dental or PA school based on character, morals and academic ability.
Residents who are interested in the program must also be members of a Southern Baptist church, have completed two years of residency and be recommended by the chief of service.
All applicants need to have an interest in medical ministries of some sort. While no salary is provided, airfare and visas costs are provided. In addition, on a case-to-case basis, lodging may be provided by the field.
MedAdvance 2022 to highlight other opportunities
The Global Health Rotation is just one of the ways the IMB is promoting healthcare missions.
Healthcare professionals, healthcare students, church leaders or individuals involved in mobilizing healthcare professionals can find out more about the IMB’s growing involvement in medical missions by attending MedAdvance 2022. Breedlove will be one of the speakers presenting.
The conference will provide opportunities for networking with other healthcare professionals, meeting healthcare missionaries and learning how to pair healthcare training with a love for international missions.
MedAdvance 2022 will be held June 23-25 at Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Glen Allen, Virginia. Registration is open now. Visit imb.org/event/medadvance-2022 to learn more.
Myriah Snyder writes for the IMB.