by Rachel

One of the challenges of living overseas and working in the health professions is keeping up our professional credentials.  As you have likely heard, over the past few years at least half of the docs on the team have flown back to the States to take Board exams, certifying us to practice medicine within our specialities in the US.  Even though we may or may not work in the US in years to come, keeping up credentials is important (and expensive), but keeps many doors open for us.  Every doctor is responsible for taking a certain number of credits of Continuing Medical Education each year.  Usually these requirements can be fulfilled by attending seminars, lectures, and conferences close to home.  But last we checked, Burundi doesn’t offer any CME...

Fortunately for us the Christian Medical/Dental Association offers a yearly international conference of CME for medical missionaries working abroad.  Every other year it’s held in Kenya (Thailand on the off years) but this year it was moved to Greece due to space constraints.  Alyssa and the McLaughlins were able to go for two weeks at the end of April and it was great!  The first few days were especially important, as Alyssa and Rachel got extra training in how to teach management of neonatal resuscitation and obstetrical emergencies, and all three of us received hands-on instruction on a variety of ultrasound (cardiac echos, abdominal, diagnosing DVTs, etc).  We got to attend lots of lectures on topics from tropical disease to updates in US medicine to community health and personal care.  We also had daily worship and sermons (in English!) for spiritual growth.  And then of course the highlight was visiting and catching up with friends from all over the globe--the world of medical missions is very small!  There were actually over 700 people from 70 different countries attending.  We caught up with friends from Tenwek, World Harvest/Serge, Loma Linda med school, former missionaries to Burundi, and even the couple who are currently living in our old apartment in Albertville, France!

Fellow Serge (WHM) medical missionaries

Shirley, a nurse in Kenya, worked at Kibuye for several years in the 1980s.  Monica works with an NGO called LifeNet in Bujumbura.

Loma Linda University classmates!

At the end of the conference, we took a few days to see Athens and experience Greece, a much needed vacation.  Eric’s parents came to help out with the kids and visit, which was a special time as well.  Thanks to everyone who helped make this possible for us!

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