Let’s be honest. You have a lot of options in front of you. Nearly 500 accredited Family Medicine residencies (and that’s assuming your not looking at Med/Peds or some other specialty). RezHealth is unique from every other residency. I’m sure you’ll here that from other places, but let me tell you why this statement is 100% true.
I would not be where I am at today without going through residency at RezHealth. Currently, I am following the Father’s lead to serve Him in a location where very few, if any, outsiders can work. It is a somewhat forgotten corner of the globe where <1% of the nearly 2 million people have never even had a chance to hear the Good News. On top of that, it has significantly worse health outcomes compared with neighbouring areas in the same country with the same health system. Hmmm, that sounds strangely similar to Memphis.
Is there uncertainty ahead of me? Absolutely. Do I know exactly how I am going to serve? Nope. Does this make me uncomfortable? Yep. Is it dangerous? Yes, but we were never promised safety (See Mark 10:30 and the persecutions promised to us). Do I trust the Father?…Yes, but it’s not easy, and I wrestle with giving Him my trust every day. Deep down, I know that He has great things planned which may use the gift of medicine or may require me to give up that gift and serve Him in a different way. It’s uncomfortable. It’s awkward. It’s terrifying. My time in Memphis was many of those same things: uncertain, uncomfortable, dangerous. But through those moments I learned to trust the Father more, and it is helping me trust Him more now. On top of that, I can look back at my time in Memphis and see how amazing it was. And, honestly, it was amazing when I was in the moment, too.
Jesus came and preached the Kingdom of God and healed the sick. I am the farthest thing from Jesus, but I believe we should follow His lead. So, here I am trying to do the same among the forgotten and lost sheep.
RESIDENT #001|02 - Natalie King
I am a farm girl from Ohio who gave her life to Christ in college and was called to medicine while on a medical mission trip. However, when it came time to choose a residency, I realized I was 4 years older and no closer to being a missionary. I lived in a middle class neighborhood, spent time with very few people outside of my church and medical school community, and practiced medicine pretty much the same as my non-believing teachers. Although I knew I wanted to live missionally as a physician, my trajectory did not seem to be leading me to that goal. This was why I was so attracted to Resurrection and ultimately chose to move to Memphis for residency. The leaders challenged me to start living like the person I hoped to become. They helped me to live in an innercity community, care for the poorest people in the city, host a housechurch in my home, and learn how to engage and love people in various cultures. In short, I began understanding the difficulty and joy in trying to follow Jesus more consistently, both in how I cared for my patients and in how I lived my life. Thankfully, I did not do this alone, but with a large community of people who were in various stages of living in Memphis and preparing to move overseas.
Now, I continue to try to live out this same consistent discipleship while living and practicing full-scope family medicine in the small, broken but beautiful, Appalachian town of Jellico, TN. Although I may live in a relatively isolated community on the other side of Tennessee (and it is a wide state!), I still remain thankful for the community I inherited in Memphis. It continues through emails with my previous colleagues who are now missionaries overseas, connections with Christian clinics where my previous co-residents work, and friendships that challenge me to continue to pursue the Kingdom of God actively and whole-heartedly.
I remember the 4th year residency search. If you’re like me you have you “boxes” that you want checked off by the perfect residency. Some of mine included comprehensive “full scope” medical training, a heavy obstetrics focus, and a program that would push me towards my long term goal of the foreign mission field. Several programs checked these boxes; however, God drew my family to Rez because community for me and my family (wife and 1 year old girl at that time).
During my 3 years in Memphis, all the boxes above got checked. However, something else happened that I hadn’t accounted for. Looking back, the two most meaningful developments were that I grew in my understanding and love of discipleship. Jesus calls us to make disciples of all nations, not simply provide medical care or make “converts”. Secondly, my family got direction. We began to see the need for unreached, unengaged peoples around the world (see joshuaproject.net). Through vision trips, Priority 15, staff mentors, and intentional prayer with co-residents, God showed us our next step.
After graduation, my family took a job in Augusta GA at Christ Community Health. We continued the mission to change communities through incarnational living while serving the medical need through a community health center. There we applied what we had learned in Memphis. It was time for us to practice what we had preached for the last 3 years.
Fast forward 2 years and one more baby, now we are moving to North Africa to work with the “Acacia People” (named changed for security). Currently there are 20 million Acacia people around the world with less than 100 known disciples of Jesus. To give these people a chance to choose Jesus we are moving. This means stepping into new culture, new language, new religious states and obviously a huge dose of humility. Often we are asked “is it safe?”. At Rez, the phrase “risk taking faith” often gets used. This isn’t just a slogan but based in Biblical truth and the result of believing in your heart that Jesus is really worth it.
This faith doesn’t occur magically when you move overseas. Christ transforms His disciples including during residency. Was residency hard? Yes. Was inner city Memphis challenging, at times unsafe? Yes. Was it worth it? Every minute. Wherever God is leading you, strive not to make decisions based on fear but faith. Heck, that’s how we got to Memphis and now North Africa.
Since finishing at Rez in 2015, my family has been in Kansas City, and I'm serving as the medical director at a small safety clinic in the most impoverished county in Kansas while also admitting my patients at a nearby hospital. Rez health excellently prepares residents for full spectrum family medicine, but the spiritual development obtained in 3+ years is unparalleled. You are strategically situated in Memphis, a place where God has placed hundreds of medical and non-medical sheep all learning how to follow their Shepherd. I haven't heard of a place where God has his people living more intentionally, sacrificially or in community with one another. Through it, God becomes greater and gets glorified, and as a resident working the hardest you've ever worked, you become less and get humbled more than ever. The result is a physician disciple living for Jesus, recognizing that your purpose is to make his name great whether it be domestically or abroad. The Lord used Rez health to develop this foundation my entire family now stands on. Who wouldn't want that? I cannot think of a better way to start a medical career.
I started with Resurrection Family Medicine in 2012 (back before we even had our own website!) as a member of the second residency class. Even though the program was in is earliest stages, when I applied as a 4th year medical student I was drawn to how committed the faculty was to train up doctor-disciples to practice excellent medicine and share God's love in hard places. I was also inspired by how dedicated first class of residents was in shaping a program that fulfilled its mission so well.
My time at Resurrection was awesome. My co-residents and faculty felt more like family than coworkers and supervisors - they were my co-laborers and my support network. The clinical experiences at Resurrection prepared me well to care for complex patients dealing with multiple medical comorbidities in resource-poor settings. The emphasis on whole-person care and particularly spiritual care that is taught and modeled at Resurrection shaped how I practice medicine. The residency also helped get me connected with the Christian Community Health Fellowship, which is how I ended up at my current clinic.
Since graduating from Resurrection Family Medicine in June, 2015, I have been working at Los Angeles Christian Health Centers in the Joshua House Clinic, which serves a primarily homeless population in the Downtown Los Angeles Skid Row Community. LACHC's mission is "to show God’s love by providing quality, comprehensive healthcare to the homeless and underserved." I do outpatient primary care for our adult, homeless patients, and my practice includes a significant amount of integrated behavioral health, primary HIV care, and medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction. The patient circumstances can be heartbreaking, and the days can feel long, but I have been privileged to witness God's redemptive and restorative work in my patients' lives time and time again. I love my current job, and I am so thankful for the skills taught at Resurrection that prepared me well to serve here.