Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The #CMDS2014 National Conference Experience

-by Lester Liao

This weekend I attended the National Conference for CMDS.  It was amazing.
Despite the low attendance of students/residents (less than 10), the experience was incredible.  What a wonderful opportunity it was to meet other physicians that have been in the practice of serving Christ in medicine for decades!  What wisdom there was to be distilled from brilliant minds!  What fun it was to praise Jesus and learn together!
I must say this was one of the best, if not best, conference I have ever attended. A large part of this is likely because it was my first real exposure to the CMDS community at large. Our student CMDS chapter in Windsor is small, and there is only one full-fledged CMDS physician actively involved with us.  Yet at this conference there were so many people to meet.  My vision for the work and influence of Christian physicians in CMDS grew exponentially.  It was massively encouraging.  For the first time I met Dr. John Patrick, who blew my mind away (and my fellow Windsor student’s) after just a few minutes of conversation with his sharp insights and apologetic method.  I attended seminars that were both educational and spiritually enriching, addressing issues that have never been brought up in medical school.  The PAS/euthanasia presentation was poignant and eye-opening, and has compelled me to share this message with local churches and colleagues.  I had numerous extended conversations (some over two hours!) wise people that really challenged my thinking and simultaneously built me up – all outside of the formal schedule. And the list continues.  I quite distinctly recall the feeling of my head swelling over the weekend because of everything I was taking in. I have never been at a conference like this one.
What I learned also encouraged me in practical engagement in my setting. Just the day after the conference ended I was able to talk to one of my preceptors about euthanasia/PAS with some of what I had learned, only to find out he is an influential policy maker at the hospital!  This very morning I spoke with colleagues in small group about the need for us to consider why we do medicine and not simply how we do it – and some very good discussion ensued.  By the end of the conversation one colleague even admitted to the fear of what her own thoughts would lead to practically, and she then desired to change her stance.
What a blessing it is to be part of this organization. It is my prayer that more students would become involved at a level beyond the student level. The mutual encouragement of different generations kindles fire for Christ in our souls. CMDS is a wonderful place where we can help one another in our respective fields and spur one another on to love and good works. Let’s hope that more students and residents can get connected with the community at large so that we can learn from one another, come together, and magnify Christ in healthcare.  

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