The Adventist Doctors' Support Network (ADSN) hosted a virtual conference last Saturday, 30 April, through Zoom and YouTube. The conference termed 'Empowered for Service' focused on bringing together medical professionals and students to learn how to share Christ in their workplace and strengthen their bonds.
Dr Elsa Charles, a General Practitioner and the founder of ADSN led the conference. She was supported by Dr Kirk Thomas, Director for Evangelism and Personal Ministries, at the British Union Conference (BUC) of Seventh-day Adventists. The schedule had a plenary session in the morning, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, a panel discussion and workshops from 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm and a networking session from 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm.
The event featured several medical professionals who spoke about the importance of the medical professional as a tool to bring God's love and healing to people. Also, it is essential to take care of oneself whilst taking care of others, and they shared their testimonies on how they created opportunities to talk about Christ in their workplace. Dr Gloria Mosha-Onchiri shared how she started a prayer group in her practice at the height of the pandemic and how the group was still going two years later. They told personal success stories to motivate others to do the same and be open to being used by God in their daily activities.
When asked about the reasons behind the conference, Charles answered, "to let our Adventist colleagues know that we exist, that they don't have to be alone anymore." According to a survey published in the Harvard Business Review, the medical professional is among the professions with the highest rates of loneliness. "Isolation is real on doctors. We tend to feel we have to be strong for everyone," she added. The latest GP Worklife study shows that eight out of ten GPs reported experiencing "considerable or high pressure from increasing workloads and increased patient demands." By bringing visibility to doctors around the UK, Charles hopes that the conference will be where medical professionals can have a Sabbath programme dedicated to their experiences and the things that only doctors go through. "We are here to support one another," she said.
The BUC embraced this project by transmitting it through their headquarters in Watford and having the ADSN under the Evangelism Ministry led by Thomas. "Each ministry needs a home and a sponsor, so they can be recognised, not only within the church but also within society," explains Thomas. He also shared how he became involved with the ADSN, "they were looking for someone vibrant, who they could count on and with the same passion for mission."
The ADSN started in 2020 to bring together Adventist medical professionals and students to share their experiences. When Charles first moved to the UK and was looking for advice from other colleagues on being a medical Christian, she couldn't find a place to voice her feelings. "Where are the doctors, where do they meet up, how do they deal with loneliness?" Through phone calls and text messages to other doctors, she was able to form the support network that has become ADSN. "The first thing they said was somewhere for us to pray together." Now, she invites others to join ADSN through their website www.adventistdoctorsuk.org or email email@example.com.
Click the links below for video interviews with Dr E. Charles and Dr K. Thomas: