Mennonite Health JournalArticles on the intersection of faith and health
MHF President’s Column, May 2015
Eric Lehman, MD
from Mennonite Health Journal, Vol. 17, No. 2 – May 2015
Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship (MHF) is approaching its fourth anniversary as an organization with a mission to be an interdisciplinary community of Anabaptist health professionals which seeks to nurture the integration of faith and practice, to provide opportunities for dialogue on health related issues, and to address specific needs through education, advocacy, and service.
MHF continues to provide a variety of programing to serve Anabaptist healthcare workers.
- Annual Gatherings at Laurelville Mennonite Church Center and Goshen College brought us together for intellectual and spiritual growth around themes such as “Integrated Healthcare: Many Gifts, One Purpose,” “Moral Dilemmas in Healthcare,” and “Faith at Work: Practicing our Profession.” This year, MHF will hold its Annual Gathering in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with the theme, “Walking Together for Healthy Communities.”
- Many stimulating Regional Meetings have been held in Kansas, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and other places. A wide variety of topics discussed have included death and dying, serving persons with disabilities, the Ebola epidemic, medical mission and service in places like the Congo, Zambia, India, and Nepal, and the Mennonite response to issues like public health and mental illness.
- The Student Elective Term (SET) continues to provide support to graduate level students desiring to serve and learn in an international medical setting, with students serving in Tanzania, India, Honduras, Zambia, and El Salvador.
- The Mobilization for Mission Fund and Steven Roth Fund have now been combined to provide funding not just for graduate students but for other MHF members. The legacy of Steven Roth lives on through the Steven Roth Memorial Grant Program which is available to aid MHF members around the world as they work in educational and/or service-oriented purposes which contribute to the missional purposes of the church.
- More recently, MHF is taking a more active role to help administer the Mary Jean Yoder Memorial Endowment Fund which provides financial support for the education of international students in healthcare-related fields of study.
- MHF keeps in touch with its members via electronic communications through the Mennonite Health Journal and periodic member email updates. An active website, as well as a presence on Facebook, and now on Twitter(!), also serve to inspire and inform the MHF membership and others.
Despite the influx of new members from an increasingly diverse cross-section of healthcare professionals, the overall membership growth of MHF has not been sufficient to financially sustain the organization. Only through the generosity of a small group of members who give donations above and beyond their membership dues has MHF been able to continue the fellowship.
As a result, the Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship Board of Directors feels the need to obtain additional guidance in our pursuit of a stronger, more vibrant fellowship. At its May 2 meeting, the Board took action to plan for a Strategic Planning Workshop in the fall of 2015 with LaVern Yutzy serving as an organizational consultant.
As Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship looks to the future, the Board would appreciate feedback from you our members about the benefits of our existing programs and ideas for new and innovative services. Please share your thoughts with us! The easiest way to send responses to MHF Executive Director, Paul Leichty, through the email link in the upper right corner of every page on the MHF website (www.mennohealth.org).
Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship has some exciting opportunities to collaborate with other church structures and organizations to share member energies, experiences, talents, and gifts. Most recently, MHF has been invited to participate in conversations at an international Health Care Leaders Summit preceding the Mennonite World Conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The goal of the Summit, sponsored by Mennonite World Conference is engage in dialogue to explore options for an international network of healthcare providers. MHF is excited about participating in these conversations and the possibilities of this newly envisioned structure.
The MHF Board and Staff thank you for your ongoing support and pray that the future will lead us to a closer walk with Christ as we serve Him here on earth.
About the author
Eric Lehman, M.D., is a physician in family practice from Archbold, Ohio. He served on the MHF Board from 2012-2015 including a year as President. Eric graduated from Goshen College in 1982 and Ohio State University College of Medicine in 1986. Following his residency, he has been serving the Archbold community in family practice medicine since 1989.