Celebrating a Legacy with David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics), and Gene Rudd, MD

Celebrating a Legacy with David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics), and Gene Rudd, MD

At the 2019 CMDA National Convention, we were privileged to honor Dr. David Stevens and Dr. Gene Rudd for their legacy of faithful leadership. Dr. Stevens is stepping down as CEO of CMDA effective September 1, 2019, while Dr. Rudd moved from his Senior Vice President role to working part-time in 2017.

At the 2019 CMDA National Convention, we were privileged to honor Dr. David Stevens and Dr. Gene Rudd for their legacy of faithful leadership. Dr. Stevens is stepping down as CEO of CMDA effective September 1, 2019, while Dr. Rudd moved from his Senior Vice President role to working part-time in 2017.

 

During the Friday evening session at the convention, the Board of Trustees recognized Dr. Stevens and Dr. Rudd for their 25 years of leadership and the impact they have had on the ministries of CMDA, as well as the eternal difference they have made for God’s kingdom. As part of that celebration, we recounted their journeys in life and how God directed their paths to bring them to CMDA. The evening was marked by laughter, fond memories and reminders of how much God has accomplished through their efforts to serve His call on their lives.

 

As they both seek God’s will for His purpose for the next season of life, the membership of CMDA is grateful for their guidance, wisdom, servant leadership and service to healthcare professionals as the leaders of CMDA.

 

This special commemorative edition of Today’s Christian Doctor honors their leadership and the voice they have been for Christian healthcare professionals all around the United States and the world. Their lives truly epitomize CMDA’s vision of “Transformed Doctors, Transforming the World.”

                                                                                                                                               

 

David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics)

 

“...But whoever would be great among you must be your servant...For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

—Mark 10:43-45, ESV

 

Dr. Stevens holds degrees from Asbury University, is an AOA graduate of the University of Louisville School of Medicine and is board certified in family medicine. After completing his residency, David, his wife Jody and their family answered God’s call to serve as missionaries. From 1981 to 1991, Dr. Stevens was a missionary doctor at Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, Kenya where he served as Medical Superintendent and Executive Officer. At Tenwek, he directed a $4 million development plan, secured the installation of an $850,000 hydroelectric plant, oversaw the start of a nursing school and doubled the size of the hospital. The community healthcare and development programs he designed at Tenwek are currently reaching over a million Kenyans and serve as examples of what medical outreach in the developing world can accomplish.

 

After leaving Kenya, Dr. Stevens served as medical director of World Medical Mission. In Somalia, Dr. Stevens led an emergency medical team that treated 45,000 suffering Somalis in the midst of war. In the Sudan, medical teams under his leadership treated over 25,000 villagers to stop the spread of an epidemic.

 

Twenty-five years ago in 1994, Dr. David Lynn Stevens answered God’s calling to lead the Christian Medical & Dental Society. Throughout this journey under his leadership and God’s guidance, the organization grew in ways never imagined. While he sought financial stability for the organization, the doors opened for a larger facility for a significant cost savings, resulting in a move to Bristol, Tennessee. These savings, plus the ministry’s first-ever capital campaign, provided for support for 40 ministries and the building of our current facility, which sits on 53 acres allowing for future growth. Shortly after moving in, the ministry was given an award for the Best Christian Workplace by Christianity Today, a result of the partnership and leadership he and Senior Vice President Dr. Gene Rudd created.

 

Recognizing the importance of the organization’s position statements on bioethical issues, Dr. Stevens began to touch the hearts of Christians by using the statements as a platform to address bioethical and public policy issues. By responding to the media, Christian Medical & Dental Society’s name became recognized as the voice representing thousands of Christian healthcare professionals. During these days, it became evident there was a need to change the name from Society to Associations, allowing the medical and dental to have two distinctively different names and giving them each their own identity. As a result, a Washington office was established to help build relationships with like-minded organizations and throughout the U.S. government and the White House. As a result of his efforts to be a voice for healthcare, Dr. Stevens was invited to the White House and the U.S. Department of State by two different administrations.

 

As spokesman for 19,000 Christian healthcare professionals, he has conducted more than 2,000 media interviews on bioethical, public policy and scientific issues, including CBS Evening News, ABC World News, MSNBC, BBC-World Television, CNN Sunday Morning, Newsweek, FOX News, PAX-Television, Tech TV, Associated Press, JAMA, USA Today, Family News in Focus, National Public Radio and many other national outlets.

 

Under his leadership, a new emphasis was also placed on dental ministries, which created the Peter E. Dawson Chair of Dentistry, dental education through the dental residency programs and a Vice President for Dental Ministries to equip dentists in sharing their faith.

 

While Dr. Stevens’ role as Chief Executive Officer focused on many areas of ministry, his heart has always been and will always be on the mission field. After serving as a healthcare missionary for over a decade, no one knows better than him that caring for the sick opens doors to sharing the gospel. Focused on bringing God’s Word to the world, CMDA’s short-term missions was stabilized under his watch with more teams going into more countries and reaching more people, whether it be for medical education, surgical residencies or trips that include multiple specialties and medical students. His insight for providing resources and encouragement to long-term missionaries developed into the Center for Medical Missions, an annual healthcare missions leadership Summit with leaders from dozens of mission agencies and additional scholarships to help missionaries get on the field. His vision to inspire and educate potential missionaries took on another quest as Dr. Stevens worked with others to create the Global Missions Health Conference, which now boasts more than 2,500 attendees each year. Sharing his missionary experience through his first book release, Jesus, MD, Dr. Stevens inspired others to walk in Christ’s footsteps. And his subsequent books, Beyond Medicine, Leadership Proverbs and Servant Leadership, combined missionary training and leadership skills with the Word of God.

 

In addition to his books, he has also written countless chapters, magazine articles and more. Dr. Stevens’ experiences provide rich illustrations for inspirational and educational presentations at seminars, medical schools, conferences, and churches. His topics include stem cell research, human cloning, genetics, faith and health, physician assisted suicide, international and community based health care, emergency medical relief, abortion and other medically related subjects.

 

He earned a master’s degree in bioethics from Trinity International University in 2002 and served on the boards of World Gospel Mission and Asbury University. He has regularly taught at CMDA’s educational seminars for healthcare missionaries serving overseas. He is a Fellow of the Biotechnology Policy Council of the Wilberforce Forum and helped found the National Embryo Donation Center. Dr. Stevens and his wife, Jody, have a son, Jason, and two daughters, Jessica and Stacy and 10 grandchildren, all who are involved in domestic or international healthcare ministry.

 

Knowing the importance of having a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father, Dr. Stevens continued the vision of CMDA’s founding fathers to create an environment for medical students to be discipled during one of the most difficult times of their life. Under his leadership, CMDA now ministers to students on more than 300 colleges and universities and to graduates through over 80 local ministry groups throughout the U.S.

 

Creating the mission to change hearts in healthcare and the vision to transform doctors to transform the world, Dr. David Stevens leaves a legacy that will be considered one of the most influential and important times in the history of Christian Medical & Dental Associations.

                                                                                                                                               

 

Gene Rudd, MD

 

“The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

—Matthew 23:11-12, ESV

 

Dr. Gene Rudd obtained his undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of Georgia in 1973 and his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1977. He completed a categorical internship in 1978, as well as a residency in 1981 in obstetrics and gynecology at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. Among his numerous professional and academic affiliations, he was the Director of the Maternal/Fetal Medicine program at William Beaumont Army Medical Center where he trained residents in the military.

 

A specialist in obstetrics/gynecology, Dr. Rudd has extensive experience as a director of a maternal-fetal medicine training program and in rural healthcare practice. He has garnered several awards, including the prestigious Gorgas Medal in 1981, which was presented to him by U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop for achievement in preventative medicine. This award recognized his groundbreaking research during his residency in establishing the efficacy of preoperative antibiotics. His findings changed the course of antibiotic use in surgery. After 12 years in the U.S. Army, he resigned his commission at the rank of Major before moving to Marion, North Carolina. He was in solo private practice in a rural region in Western North Carolina that previously had the worst perinatal statistics in the state. In the six years he practiced in this area, he was on call all but six days.

 

Prior to joining CMDA, Dr. Rudd served with Samaritan’s Purse and was one of the first Western physicians to enter the former Soviet Union after the Berlin Wall came down. He taught extensively in medical schools and hospitals during that time and established the Christian Medical Mission of Russia, started the first CMDA chapter in that country and obtained an institutional medical license enabling medical missionaries to get licensed until this day. He stepped off the ramp of a still moving Canadian C-130 in the midst of the Rwanda genocide and walked through the bodies of the slain to open the Central Hospital in its capital Kigali. He faced down killing teams that wanted to slay patients in their beds and was appointed medical coordinator for the city when the United Nations finally arrived on the scene. He also performed relief work in the Balkans during the Balkan Wars where he was pinned down in a ditch for over an hour by sniper fire. He also served in Belarus, Bosnia, Kazakhstan and India.

 

Gene joined CMDA in 1995 to work alongside his friend Dr. David Stevens, serving in the capacity known in many organizations as Chief Operating Officer. When CMDA was recognized as a “Best Christian Workplace” by Christianity Today in 2003, they described Dave and Gene’s unique relationship as a partnership that functions like co-CEOs. One of the most visible parts of Gene’s impact on the organization was the building of our headquarters, as he was the project manager for the construction. His oversight resulted in our building receiving all four awards that year from the Southern Building Association. It was the first time that had happened in their history.

 

As Senior Vice President, Dr. Rudd piloted the ship inside the walls of CMDA. For example, his oversight of the organization’s budgeting process enabled CMDA to grow and develop into what it is today. His wisdom and influence didn’t stop there, as his leadership of our ministry reached into every state and numerous other countries. For more than 20 years, he was on the board of the International Christian Medical & Dental Association, which networks and serves national CMDA groups in 79 countries around the world. As a spokesman for Christian healthcare professionals in America, Dr. Rudd has received national media coverage, including appearances on NBC News, National Public Radio, American Family Radio and Salem Radio Network, as well as the Wall Street Journal, Christianity Today, The Washington Post and American Medical News. He has authored countless articles and co-authored Practice by the Book, a Christian doctor’s guide to living and serving. In addition, he oversaw the development of the Saline Solution and the subsequent Grace Prescriptions curriculum. He has helped train more than 200 healthcare professionals to do TV, radio and print interviews. He has personally counseled hundreds of CMDA members as they dealt with difficult practice or personal issues.

 

Dr. Rudd began working part-time in 2017, but he continues to be involved in numerous ways and his leadership is felt throughout the entire ministry. He still speaks across the country to student and graduate groups, and he leads some of CMDA’s international tours to Greece and Israel. He recently started CMDA Encore, a ministry for retired and semi-retired healthcare professionals to help them discern God’s will and purpose for their retirement years. And as a result of his part-time hours, Dr. Rudd is also enjoying spending more time with his wife Gay, their four children and their 10 grandchildren.

 

Dr. Rudd has ministered to countless healthcare professionals across the country and around the world. Many have accomplished important goals for healthcare in areas of service or policy, but Dr. Rudd is an example of one who has actually changed the culture of medicine, by personal example, by training and with tireless labor at an organizational level to produce the programs necessary for that change. The greatest investment of a man’s life is to invest his life in others to help them become all they were designed to be. With wisdom and compassion, Dr. Rudd has given of himself for those in need and been a sterling example and mentor to the next generation of healthcare professionals.

                                                                                                                                               

 

“David, as you enter your retirement years, I just want to thank you for the leadership you have shown, the multiple tracks on which you have run, the amazing impact you have made, and the voice that needed to be heard during a time when so many of these issues were up front and center being discussed and debated within our culture. You’ve been a man of God, you’ve honored the Lord in the way you’ve prepared and in your training and in the way you’ve addressed these issues. I have no doubt you will not actually be retiring, you just now have the privilege of setting your own priorities rather than somebody else setting them for you. I wish you, and your dear wife, and your children and your grandchildren some of the best years ahead for you. And may He direct your path and anoint your lips to do what He has chosen for you to do.”

—Ravi Zacharias, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries

 

“Congratulations, Dr. Stevens, on so many profitable years of service to the Christian healthcare community and also to global medical missions. God bless you, sir, for the hard work you have done championing the needs of people with disabilities, especially unborn and newborn children with disabilities, not only here in the United States but around the world. Your cause for the sanctity of life has been admirable, encouraging and inspirational to all of us in the disability community. God bless you, sir. Thank you for your years of service in the kingdom, and I wish you all the best for years to come.”

—Joni Eareckson Tada, Joni and Friends

 

“Dave, it was almost 25 years ago almost to the day that you and I first met. In 1994, we were both at our first CMDS convention. I was there to do a pilot for what would become Saline Solution and later Grace Prescriptions, and you were there to interview to be the CEO. And what a 25 years it has been. It’s been my privilege to get to know you, to love you, to pray for you through all of those years. And now to say congratulations, Dave, on those 25 years, and for the next 25. May our Lord continue to bear much fruit in us and through us. Congratulations!”

—Walt Larimore, MD

 

“Dave, I want to thank you for all your years of service and for mentoring me through the years. I still remember my fourth year of medical school and being mentored by you and Gene while I was a student member of the Board of Trustees. You may not remember, but you were the speaker at my senior commissioning ceremony at New York City in the spring of 2003. You gave an altar call (as any good Baptist preacher should) and I came forward to dedicate my career to Jesus. As I prayed, I heard Father speak these words so clearly and loudly, almost audibly. He said, “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.” I could not help but weep. That single revelation carried me through nine years of surgical residency and transplant fellowship. I wanted to share this story with you to let you know how God touched me through you, and He left an indelible mark on me. You may not have heard, but we are going through a phase of transition and transformation this season as the Father is calling us into ministry. Margaret has been enrolled in seminary for the last three years, and I started last fall as well. While Margaret is still quite busy with her practice, I have scaled back my practice to make time for ministry. That includes now leading the Medical Education International (MEI) Mongolia teams. I just want to say thank you for being an example of a disciple of Jesus to me and for serving me through your faithful service at CMDA.”

—Matthew Y. Suh, MD, MPH

 

“David, how can a ‘thank you’ note adequately express how much we have appreciated your leadership at CMDA? It can’t...but may hundreds can! We have been part of CMDA since 1982 and have seen it grow, become more strategic and influential and become a tremendous resource for students, missions and affecting cultural awareness and change. You have, as they say, ‘Led the charge.’ CMDA would not be what it is today without your steady, Godly and wise leadership. True, you had awesome help in the man Gene Rudd. He is a rare gem, and his contribution to CMDA cannot be accurately measured, because much of what he has done is ‘behind the scenes.’ God has blessed CMDA, and part of that blessing has come in the form of you two amazing leaders. We have been blessed and challenged as we have, in small measure, served CMDA. Our experience on the Board of Trustees was an apex of being mentored by committed colleagues, and, in particular, up close and personal with you and Gene. We thank you for that opportunity and for your commitment to excellence. May God bless you with rich memories and fertile opportunities for you and Jody to exercise your talents, strengthen your family ties and actually enjoy the experience and words, ‘Well done, faithful servant.’”

—Dr. Richard and Kristen Johnson

 

“Hi Dave, you came out to encourage us [in Montana] regarding the physician-assisted suicide problem a few years ago. Moreover, I spent about four years at Tenwek just after you left there in the early 90s. Your mark was on everything there...they called you the visionary, and that sure proved true with your leadership of CMDA. I want to thank you for the thousands of selfless hours put in for the service of the Lord. I’ve enjoyed many of the challenges and resources from CMDA, and I’m so thankful that you have had the vision to oversee pushing CMDA to a new level. We pray you are blessed in whatever comes next. The Lord will be front and center in whatever endeavor you tackle.”

—Leonard Ramsey, MD

 

“Dear Dave, I joined CMDA in the early 80s while in medical school. I noticed a distinct change as soon as you took over leadership. You have helped the organization expand into many needed areas so that the gospel would impact more people. But thank you for simultaneously reminding us—repeatedly—that our core, our mission, is to spread the gospel by medical service to hurting people. CMDA’s members may have divergent political views, but our unity is in Christ Jesus. Best wishes in the next stage of your life. I am sure that God will continue to use you throughout your life.”

—Barbara Soyster, MD

 

“Dear David, thank you for your inspirational leadership of CMDA these past many years! You have done an outstanding job! Just a story for you. I have been on seven mission trips with GHO to El Salvador during your helm. Four years ago, an El Salvadorian student in a local Christian school served as my translator. He had a desire to try to attend college in the U.S. Through many hoops he jumped and, of course by God’s direction, he is now a junior at Campbell University, a Christian university here in North Carolina with a nice scholarship! He lives in my house and is essentially an adopted son! One never knows what wonderful plans God has for the impact of GHO on people throughout the world! Thanks so much! Stay active in CMDA, please.”

Thomas Darrell, MD

 

“Dear Dr. Stevens, thank you for your faithful leadership of CMDA over the past 25 years. The ministry of CMDA is touching lives around the country and around the world! As a medical student, it has been so encouraging to know that I am part of a larger network of Christian healthcare professionals. I always look forward to hearing you every month on the Christian Doctor’s Digest podcast. The podcast gives me the opportunity to think deeply about the ethical issues I will face as I begin my career, and it is so valuable to hear them addressed by wise Christians. Thank you so much for all that you have done to serve through CMDA. I thank the Lord for your humble leadership, and pray that He blesses you with His joy in whatever He calls you to next.

—Katherine Leach

 

“Gene, here is my impression. You and David have conducted one of the most successful ‘administrations’ anywhere and ever! And a great deal of the reason for that is you—Gene Rudd! Your willingness to, with the unction of the Holy Spirit, take a less upfront and prominent role and yet thoroughly support what plans that I am sure you both agreed upon—that is true spiritual humility! And it is obviously for the good of the gospel in medicine! Gene, you have incredible gifts of leadership and administration, but you chose to submit it to our Lord in this special way. It has been an incredible inspiration to me personally and to our organization, In His Image. Just want you to know I respect, honor and love you in the Lord, dear brother!”

John Crouch, MD

 

“Dear Dr. Stevens, thank you so much, you and your family, for answering the call (and so many calls!) the Lord has placed on your life. Thanks to your sage advice to a medical student at Southern Illinois University in 2007-ish, she joyfully followed the Lord’s leading to pathology and now helps provide diagnostic services to those here and abroad who cannot afford normal laboratory diagnosis. That student is me, now a pediatric and perinatal pathologist. I was concerned about choosing the ‘right’ specialty for medical missions, and you told me in a roundtable discussion, ‘Every specialty is needed; God can use everyone’s training to further the kingdom.’ May the Lord bless you now and in eternity for your service to Him and His people.

—Sarah Starnes, MD

 

“I am one of 50 staff members who work at the home office in Bristol. On a daily basis we get the privilege of working alongside Dave. True servant leadership involves doing the tasks no one else wants to do. Whether it’s washing the dishes after we have a meal together or packing the van after this conference, he sets the example for us to follow. On behalf of the staff in Bristol, thank you for investing in us. True servant leadership will cause people to follow you because they want to, not because they have to. We are blessed to know him, to work alongside him and to follow him not because we had to but because we wanted to.”

—Margie Shealy, CMDA Vice President for Communications

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