Riverside, Calif. – Joshua Gladney, an exercise science senior at California Baptist University, had a key insight during his Global Health Engagement trip to East Africa over the summer: prayer and health care go hand-in-hand.
“I learned how powerful prayer is in a clinical setting,” Gladney said. “God clearly intervened in the healing process with so many patients while we were there, so I learned that prayer and health care should definitely not be separate.”
The College of Health Science at CBU sent three teams this summer to serve in various health care roles in communities located in China, East Africa and the Philippines.
The trips are part of the Global Health Engagement (GHE) program, which provides students an opportunity to provide health care services while gaining course credits. Global service is part of CBU’s commitment to live out the Great Commission.
GHE benefits the students by giving them experience related to their profession of interest and the opportunity to share Christ cross-culturally, said Dr. Erik Salley, assistant professor of kinesiology and coordinator of the GHE program.
“The students develop cultural competence and sensitivity with respect to global health engagement,” Salley said. “They also learn about spiritual formation and its relationship to service in the health professions.”
Salley served with a team comprising seven students and two faculty members that spent three weeks in East Africa. The team assisted with physical therapy at a Baptist hospital in addition to teaching health seminars in a nearby village. The team also held Bible studies at the hospital and the village where they administered care.
“The students saw the integration of faith and profession, got hands-on experience practicing their skills and witnessed what life in a different country looks like,” said Dr. Amy Miller, assistant professor of kinesiology, who also participated in the East Africa trip.
The GHE China team was made up of five students and one faculty member. The team assisted children with special needs and hosted seminars to offer instruction on how to better take care of children with special needs, to their parents, teachers and childcare workers.
The experience gave students valuable learning opportunities such as hands-on evaluation and treatment, teaming up to help patients with individuals outside their field of study and learning how to communicate through interpreters, said Margaret Appenzeller, visiting professor of communication sciences and disorders. It was also about encouraging the parents of special-needs children, she added.
The third GHE team currently is serving at three locations in the Philippines: the Philippine Heart Center, a remote health clinic and a rehabilitation clinic.