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Residency is an exciting time! You’re learning a lot, developing skills, working with teams, building confidence. But residency is also a difficult time. You’re tired. You receive criticism from seemingly everyone, including yourself. Imposter syndrome sets in. You feel isolated. As Christians, we long for encouragement from fellow believers, particularly from those who understand the rigors of residency and can help us see Jesus in our work. That’s why the NRFC exists.

The National Resident & Fellow Community is the section of CMDA dedicated to connecting, mentoring, and empowering those of us in post-graduate training. We are spread out across the US and a few other countries as well. A leadership team of your peers, aided by full-time CMDA staff, plans and executes web-based discussions, retreats, a newsletter, and an academic poster session at the annual CMDA National Convention. We've got some new ideas coming down the pike, and we welcome you to join us in our mission.

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31, NIV 1984).

NATIONAL RESIDENT & FELLOW COMMUNITY OPTIONS

Want to be sure to stay connected to the ministry of CMDA now that you're out of school? Take advantage of these options:

Community Level

At this introductory level, residents and fellows at the Community Level receive the NRFC newsletter (see below) with information about regional and national CMDA events, a devotional, prayer requests, praise reports, and photos. They also receive the link to the bimonthly web-based “talk show” featuring Christian physicians and scholars working and thinking in medicine. This level also includes access to the CMDA app. You can join at the Community Level by completing the online form above (“Join the Community!”)

Membership Level

Residents and fellows at the Membership Level receive Community Level resources as well as Today's Christian DoctorChristian Doctor's Digest and CMDA discounts on books, retreats, and National Convention registration. They also will have access to interviewee housing network and other NRFC resources currently in development. Residents and fellows at the Membership Level are CMDA members. You can join CMDA here. The one-time membership fee for residents and fellows is $150 to cover the entirety of your post-graduate training (OR $99 per year).

Council Level

This is the leadership team and decision-making body of the NRFC. The Council is composed of several residents and fellows who are CMDA members and are committed to care for other residents. As you become more involved with NRFC, you may be called to serve at the Council Level.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the National Resident and Fellow Community (NRFC), and what is its purpose?

The National Resident and Fellow Council is a resident-driven organization within CMDA. It is designed to connect, mentor and empower Christian residents to:

  • Live out their faith authentically
  • Influence the culture of healthcare
  • Unite with other Christian residents and fellows both locally and nationally for enduring fellowship
  • Shape the future of CMDA

All CMDA resident and fellow members are invited to join to be a part of the NRFC. There is no member fee or required amount of meetings to attend. The NRFC provides a format for residents and fellows to connect to a community in their new city after medical school graduation, connect with other Christian residents and fellows from around the country, further develop leadership skills and share "best practices" of improving ministry to their colleagues and patients.

How is the NRFC connected to the national CMDA?

The NRFC is an important part of CMDA's Campus & Community Ministries. It serves as a springboard for development of future national leaders of CMDA, and will offer potential participation of its members in other national CMDA roles, such as Resident Trustee to the Board of Trustees, Resident Representative to the House of Representatives or membership of various councils or committees.

Why be part of the NRFC?

The NRFC offers committed Christian medical and dental residents and fellows a unique opportunity to connect, grow, be mentored, learn how to better minister to their colleagues and patients and impact the future ministry of CMDA and healthcare itself. If you are excited by what you read above, we invite you to join us!

What time commitment and responsibilities will involvement require?

While there is no time requirement to be involved in the NRFC, it is the goal of the NRFC to have regularly scheduled online meetings and interactive programs so that residents and fellows have the opportunity to connect and better integrate their faith with the daily demands of resident and fellow life. Most web-based meetings will be about an hour long and are held bi-monthly. Additional involvement will depend on the resident’s personal interests.

I want to be a part of the NRFC! What’s the next step?

Great! We’re excited to have you join us! Click here to Join the Community!

Join the National Resident and Fellow Community.

How is the leadership council of the NRFC chosen?

The National Resident & Fellow Community is led by the National Resident & Fellow Council. Each year at the annual meeting of the NRFC (associated with the CMDA National Convention) a new Council is chosen by the membership of the NRFC. The Council is composed of motivated residents who feel called to care for other residents and inspired to steer CMDA into the future. Their role will be to establish the vision for the NRFC, reach out to graduating fourth year medical students, write the NRFC newsletter, and help plan online meetings and other programs for the NRFC. The Council is not meant to be exclusive, but to define who will assume the responsibility for leading this national organization.

Is attendance at the annual meeting required for involvement in the NRFC?

Participating in the annual meeting of the National Resident and Fellow Community is highly recommended; however, we understand that in general residency is one of the busiest times of life. Attending the annual meeting is where the connections to other Christian residents and fellows from across the country will be made, and these connections will often last a lifetime. The biggest impact you can have with this ministry is when you are gathered together in person, so we highly encourage you to attend. Again, we recognize that this may not be possible and do not want your not being able to attend the annual meeting to keep you from joining the NRFC.

How do I raise funds to attend the annual meeting?

Campus & Community Ministries offers residents and fellows a $75 scholarship that helps cover their registration fee to attend National Convention.

Also, if a resident or fellow presents a poster at our VIE Poster Session, a $75 scholarship is provided to go towards their National Convention registration fee.

Raising funds to attend the annual meeting and the CMDA National Convention is ultimately the responsibility of the NRFC member and potentially his/her local CMDA Chapter.

How often do NRFC meetings occur?

NRFC meetings take place through web-based format every four to six weeks.

Interested in learning more?

 Email us at NRFC@cmda.org.

Meet Our Leadership Team

Katie Howe

Katie Howe, MD

NRFC Chair

About Katie

Kate is from the South. She grew up in Virginia, studied Cultural Anthropology at Duke University, then joined Teach for America and moved to New Orleans to teach middle school Social Studies. She stayed in her beloved New Orleans to earn her MD/MPH from Louisisa State University and completed an Albert Schweitzer Fellowship with a focus on nutrition and program planning and development. Now she is back in Virginia as a resident physician in General Surgery at Virginia Tech Carillion. She aims to teach surgery in the developing world. For fun, she enjoys eating delicious food, reading The Economist, breathing fire, bicycling, and watching all manner of sports, most especially soccer.

Chris Zalesky, MD

Chris Zalesky, MD

Resident Representative

About Chris

Chris Zalesky is currently serving as a National Resident Representative. He attended Wake Forest University for his undergraduate education and also served as a Younglife Leader at a local High school during that time. After Wake Forest, He returned home, to Atlanta, Georgia, and attended Emory University School of Medicine. While in Atlanta He was active in his local CMDA chapter, and met his wife, Elizabeth, while they were both serving in their church's childrens ministry. During his medical studies, he took a year to pursue a Master's in Clinical Research. Currently, training has taken Chris and Elizabeth to Cincinnati, Ohio where he is completing an Emergency Medicine Residency. Chris is excited to support, encourage, and pray for residents across the country.

DeKoninck Family

Tim DeKoninck, MD

Resident Trustee 2020

Peter Hountras

Peter Hountras, MD

Past Chair, NRFC

About Peter

Peter Hountras, MD, serves as the Chairman of the National Resident & Fellow Council and the Chicago Area Director. For undergraduate education, he attended Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. He then went to Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio. After graduation, he completed internal medicine residency at Loyola University Medical Center. He is currently in pulmonary critical care fellowship at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Carson Sibley, MD

Carson Sibley, MD

Resident Representative

About Carson

Carson is currently a Radiology Resident at UT Southwestern in Dallas, Texas. He majored in Biology and minored in Music at Texas A&M University. He attended medical school and completed his internship in Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern. He enjoys playing piano for his church, swimming, and cooking cajun food for friends and family. He is excited to serve and encourage his co-residents through this important and challenging career phase.

Resources

Residency Programs
We know that finding a residency program that fits you is important. We've compiled a list of residency programs that have a key CMDA leader working with the program OR are distinctly Christian. We consider these programs worth your consideration when you are choosing your residency. For more information, contact Campus & Community Ministries.

Tips for Residents
Are you looking for helpful tips and insights to provide guidance as you travel through your residency journey? Check out these Tips for Residents we've put together just for you.

Read More

CMDA Ministry to Your Marriage
The training programs for most specialties are so demanding — they take all of your time and energy, leaving little energy left for building relationships. In future pages we will look at why young doctors succumb to the opressiveness of their training; but apprentices usually go along with their trainers to guarantee future success.

We are confident your marriage can grow and blossom while you are in your training years. It helps a lot to have a sense of humor and to recognize your need for good fun or a healthy diversion. These grow out of a biblical perspective and should be part of the spiritual resources for your life, work, marriage and family.

CMDA's Marriage Enrichment Conferences are led by proven experts—our own well-trained members and staff. They are especially designed with your needs in mind. Sign up for one today and invite a colleague-couple to meet you there. Remember that we pay special attention to the needs of dual career couples.

 

Is Residency Squeezing You?
Paul Cosford, while training at Ealing Hospital in London, observed that heavy on call rotations create tiredness, which squeezes out daily quiet times, church services, and home fellowship groups. "Thus both our personal time with God and fellowship with other Christians is seriously impaired, leaving us much more vulnerable to backsliding as Christians. If we're married (as I am), it can also create pressure in this area, with little time to spend with one's wife and family." Cosford suggests some specifics for maintaining a Christian life-style while in training:

  • Be known as a Christian at work. Would a fish badge be helpful?
  • Respect and submit to the authority of consultants. "Live at peace with everyone."
  • Don't get down from lack of praise. Remember, it is the Lord Jesus Christ you are serving. He has the ultimate reward.
  • Maintain good work relationships with nurses and technicians. Humility will lead us to consult their opinions.
  • Be on guard about loneliness. Residency is not the time to try to convert your non- Christian boy or girlfriend, while maintaining Christian standards in the relationship at the same time.

Dr. Earl Bowie (ENT in Pensacola, FL) chose not to marry or pursue a relationship with a life partner during residency. Individual circumstances will indicate different strokes for different folks. CMDA's Campus & Community Ministries can put you in touch with a sympathetic couple in CMDA from your area. There is available lots of wise counsel and constructive role modeling for residents by CMDA members. Seek them out!

 

A Resident’s Dialogue with God
By Dr. Phil Grim
(From CMDS Journal, Vol XXII, No 2)

"Okay, whew, I have a few minutes before reading this stack of journals and while my beeper is quiet. I'm going to try to read my Bible. Dear Lord, please speak to me...(but quickly; I don’t have much time.)"

II Corinthians 4:8-10...

"We are hard pressed on every side"
Boy, have you got that one right, God. Everyone wants a little slice of me. My attending wants me to do a literature search on his latest project. My patients, the clinics, the paperwork, the beeper, the conferences, and the reading...aaaaahhhhh, I do feel pressed on every side. My family needs me, the church needs me, and I just need some sleep. Sigh.

"But not crushed"
That's right, take it one breath at a time. I know you won’t allow more than I can handle.

"Perplexed"
...and confused...how can I keep it all in balance?

"But not in despair"
Well, at least not all the time...smile...I mean I do have a job.

"Persecuted"
Oh yes, God, you’ve got this one right. You wouldn’t believe all the stuff I’m expected to do.

"But not abandoned"
Although I do feel alone at 3:00 A.M. in the ER with a patient that I don’t know what to do with. I know you are always guiding me and you will never abandon me.

"Struck down"
On rounds today I couldn't even give one right answer to my attending.

"But not destroyed"
But I know my true worth is in your eyes, God...not in the eyes of my fellow man.

"We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body."
To be honest, God, I do feel a little like death right now, I'm just so tired, in every way. But thank you for the encouragement that even in the midst of all this pressure...you can use me to show others...Jesus. Now, that's the best medicine I know.

Testimony

Read Dr. Sherry-Ann Brown's Testimony

Why be a CMDA Resident

Why a CMDA Membership? I appreciate the legacy of CMDA and the tremendous opportunity it has been to be a member since I was 17 years old, just a few weeks before starting college. I have immensely enjoyed the fellowship, teaching, learning, growth, support, mailings and spiritual and medical/dental camaraderie in CMDA. On the National Resident Council (NRC), residents/fellows around the country are encouraged to participate in a “think tank” to expand the space within CMDA where the word and concept “residents/fellows” becomes intentionally commonplace in the vernacular at local meetings and councils, regionally, nationally and internationally.

Through the NRC, God called me to the House of Representatives, then to serve as the Resident Trustee (2014-2015). One of my goals is to continue playing my part in relinquishing the “residency/fellowship black hole” in CMDA. Linking arms with others around the country who are at my stage and also coordinating a local group of residents/fellows helps me feel connected, supported and molded as God uses mutual ministry to teach us leadership development, fellowship, community and initiative.

As a resident/fellow member of CMDA, I know that I contribute to the largest group of Christian healthcare professionals in the country. I know that I stand in unity with others who are facing persecution regarding rights of conscience, abortion, physician-assisted suicide, infanticide and other “progressive innovations” that our broken world will pursue. I support my brothers and sisters in healthcare because we are in fellowship and community with one another and love another. And I am so grateful that when the time comes that as a cardiologist I may be faced with persecution in my area of healthcare, I will have the backing of thousands of healthcare professionals around the country. None of us knows the intricate details of what is ahead or what will be proposed next in various fields, but all of us know that “together we stand, divided we fall.”

As resident/fellow members, we are together able to “stand for something, lest we fall for anything.” Our vision at this point for residents/fellows should be to develop electronic tools that we can have at our fingertips for encouragement, support, exhortation, information and connectivity. Whether it's an app with weekly CMDA devotionals written by residents/fellows or graduate faculty, or audiobooks that we are all reading together around the country, electronic availability will increase access for residents/fellows to emerge from the “black hole.” I am thrilled to be a CMDA resident/fellow!

– Sherry-Ann Brown, MD, PhD

CMDA Ministries and Resources
CMDA offers a wide variety of outreaches, resources and services that are geared to help you as you strive to integrate your faith into your profession of healthcare during residency or fellowship. Are you taking advantage of these CMDA services?

Contact Us

Are you interested in getting involved with the National Resident and Fellow Council? Contact Campus & Community Ministries for more information.

Campus & Community Ministries
P.O. Box 7500 • Bristol, TN 37621 • 888-230-2637

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