Toby Abraham, MD - #007UA
Hi! My name is Toby and I’m from Oklahoma City.
Why did I choose Cahaba FMR? That goes back alllll the way to 2016. After my 1st year of medical school, I had the chance to spend 2 weeks in Rez Health, a Family Medicine program in Memphis, Tennessee. It was there that the Holy Spirit began a work in me that’s still in process. Because up to that point, I had knowledge of my faith which procured discipline but lacked an experiential relationship.
For two weeks, I was immersed in the community of Rez and had the opportunity to know a little bit of the heart cry of the program. And it messed me up—in such a good way. For the first time, the Gospel went farther than knowledge; I began to experience and be transformed by the Gospel. And today by His grace, I am still being transformed by it.
During my 3rd year of medical school, Rez eventually closed down and a remnant from Memphis formed Cahaba Urban in Birmingham. By the time 4th year rolled around, I had difficulty choosing what and where to go for residency. The entire time, the experience, mission & community of Rez/Cahaba never left my mind. It was still a tough decision—probably the toughest decision of my life—but ultimately, I felt the Lord gently reminding me to pursue Him more than anything else and there was no place better to do that than at Cahaba Urban. If you visit us, I think you’ll see why ;)
Sherin Cherian, DO - #007UB
I’m a Colorado native from Denver and lucky enough to have grown up in the most beautiful state in the country! I attended the University of Colorado Boulder where I got my BA/MS in Integrative Physiology and went on to pursue primary care at Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine. I have a huge extended family who all did life together growing up, so my family means the world to me. My faith is the most important part of my life, and I want to use medicine as a tool to share Christ’s love with the underserved and marginalized here and around the world. And if you know me, you know I love volleyball and I’m always ready to get a game going in the park with friends. I’m lucky to be at Cahaba Urban and here are some of the things I’m most passionate about with this program!
Community - I’m so grateful to be in community with other physicians and friends who share the same mission and heart for reaching others with the message of hope in Christ. We challenge, encourage, and sharpen each other on a daily basis, and even just starting residency, this group already feels like family for me.
Outreach - We get to live among our patients, which gives us first-hand experience of what their lives and struggles are. We can sit on their porches, eat dinner with them, and walk through darkness and brokenness with them. Though it’s not always easy, it is always a blessing to be given the chance to learn from this community and build God’s kingdom with our neighbors.
Primary care - I think primary care physicians are uniquely able to provide holistic medicine through caring for the body and the soul. I strongly believe in primary prevention and hope to someday have a clinic that uses nutrition classes, exercise programs, social workers, counselors and more to address barriers in these underserved populations.
Drake Duckworth, MD - #007UC
After attending the University of Missouri for undergrad, I spent a year in Memphis, TN where I was invited into a community of faithful physicians choosing to live and work in an under-resourced setting. My imagination was captured by how they practiced medicine. Returning to the University of Missouri for medical school, my wife, Mackenzie, and I knew that we wanted to go to a program investing in communities both domestically and abroad. Mackenzie and I have been transformed by Christ and desire to orient every aspect of our lives around Him. We are thrilled to be able to surround ourselves with people who are responding to the reality that Jesus is King by where they live, how they invest their resources, and who they serve. We feel overwhelmed by all the things we have yet to learn from the Cahaba community! We are excited to be apart of this young and scrappy residency.
Hobbies: People, Snow/Wakeboarding, Folk Punk, Philosophy/Religion, Socks, Guitar, Reading the comments section, Graphic Novels/Marvel, Longitudinal Curriculum
Mark Gingerich, MD - #007UD
“It will all work out in the end; if it isn’t working out, it simply means that it’s not the end.” This was a common quote in our home when I was growing up. It didn’t make a lot of sense to me when I was younger; but as the years have gone by, I have come to realize the truth of those words. It is a loose paraphrase of what Paul says in Romans 8:28: “We know that ALL things work together for those that love God, for those who are CALLED according to His purpose.” What follows is my story and testimony to the truth of this verse.
My name is Mark Andrew Gingerich, but a lot of people call me MAG. I am married to the most beautiful woman in the world, Abigail; I have a vivacious 3-year-old daughter, Meghan; and as of March 2019, my son and little buddy, Ian, join us to help balance out the male/female ratio in our home. Although being unashamedly non-athletic, I love spending time outdoors - hiking, canoeing, walking, camping, etc, and will do my best to pass that on to my children. I also love construction and have recently realized my long-time dream of buying a house and remodeling it.
I was born and raised in the jungles of Guatemala. In their role as long-term missionaries, my parents gave us children the gift of living and loving a different culture and language. Besides having typical pets such as dogs, cats, and chickens around and in our home, it was not uncommon for them to be joined by monkeys and parrots. Our family was the only North American family in our town of 10,000 people; we had no choice but to embrace Guatemalan culture. Our town was far enough in the jungle that we did not have electricity until I was 16 years old.
I decided to go to medical school in Guatemala City. While there, my Spanish went from decent to excellent. Besides keeping my nose in medical textbooks, I was actively involved in church and youth ministry, as well as helping with our mission’s headquarters. It was my goal at the time to complete residency in Guatemala and spend the rest of my life there.
But it didn’t work out that way (because it wasn’t the end). Abigail and I started dating in September 2009, and two years later felt that God wanted us to get married (we were agreeable). Abigail’s dream was to become a nurse practitioner, and through some miraculous events, God opened the way for that dream to come true. We moved to Pennsylvania to follow that dream; I began studying to obtain my US medical license while also working for a construction company to put food on the table.
After a few years, we were ready to move on. My desire had always been to go through a residency program to complete my training; but after two unsuccessful attempts to match, we decided God had other plans. Our long-term goal was to serve as medical missionaries, so we allowed God to lead us in that goal. We were invited to work in a mission hospital in the Andes Mountains of Peru, so we packed up our little family and immersed ourselves into Quechua culture.
God was still working in the background. In December 2018, I was invited to interview at Cahaba Family Medicine Residency. Their mission and vision aligns very closely to our long-term goals. We were so excited on so many levels when we found out that I had matched to the Cahaba Urban Track. From Match Day until move day, the flurry of events included selling our earthly possessions in Peru, buying a home in Alabama, traveling/visiting friends we hadn’t seen for 2+ years, and, oh yes, welcoming our baby boy into our home. Through it all, we saw God moving mountains and opening doors for us, clearly showing us that this is His plan for us.
It’s still not the end. But we know that God can see the end and will “work it out”.
Lucas Kane, DO - #007UE
I was born and raised in northern Virginia in a suburb of Washington D.C. I attended Virginia Tech for undergrad and VCOM for medical school. I recently moved to Birmingham from Wichita, KS where my wife recently completed family medicine residency.
I believe my journey to Cahaba ultimately began in 2009 when my whole life and worldview were changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As the Word of God took hold of my life, my thoughts, goals, and desires began to change. I was greatly blessed by the discipleship of a group of Christians who met at Christ Church Radford and along with their influence, a summer spent in Zambia, and the Global Missions Health Conference in 2013, I developed the conviction that God was calling me to learn medicine as a tool for reaching people who haven’t yet heard the Gospel. In navigating family medicine residencies I was primarily drawn to three distinct characteristics of Cahaba: their community, emphasis on true spiritual health without the neglect of pursuing medical excellence, and love for the most physically and spiritually needy people both domestically and abroad. The Cahaba residents and faculty are committed to investing in the lives of one another as well as seeking to love their neighbors. In my brief time at Cahaba thus far, my wife and I have been quickly welcomed into the community and considered co-laborers in their mission. Spiritual health is a frequently ignored though vital aspect of patient care and I have longed for a culture that consistently addresses it. I couldn’t agree more with A.W. Tozer’s famous quote, “What comes into our mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” At Cahaba, I am thankful to have found an emphasis on the spiritual while not at the sacrifice of medical training. The residents and faculty continue to tailor the curriculum for full-spectrum family medicine training and expect excellence in patient care. My particular desires to be proficient in POCUS, critical care, procedures, and obstetrics are all a key component of the longitudinal curriculum. Moreover, the program’s unified mission to care for and reach those most in need is exemplified through intentional living in the West End neighborhood, weekly prayer meetings for the unreached, the opportunity to go abroad annually for a month long international rotation, and numerous other ways. In a season of life in which I am cultivating habits I’ll take with me the rest of my life, I am grateful to call Cahaba home.
Outside of medicine, I enjoy most activities that allow me to move, be with people, and be outdoors. I especially enjoy soccer, snowboarding, hiking, frisbee golf, and spikeball. But few things are better than a date with my wife, intentional time with others, singing, or a comfy chair and a good book. My reading is often split between the topics of theology and fiction/adventure. Additionally, my wife and I enjoy traveling and learning about different cultures, both locally and abroad.
Daniel Kim, MD - #007UF
I was born in California, but was raised in Georgia--mostly in Atlanta. I received my bachelor's degree in international studies at Emory University, attended Georgia State University for my pre-medical classes, and studied at Morehouse School of Medicine for my medical degree. God led me to the Cahaba Family Medicine Residency Program. During my interview here, I was drawn by the strong sense of community and vision to manifest God's abundance. It was clear that I would be challenged here both in my medical training and personal growth to put on the character of Christ--to be one who loves deeply. When I'm not working, I enjoy a good pour over, watching movies, Dallas Willard, playing board games, reading biographies and nonfiction, and cookies.
Morgan Lepard, MD - #007UG
Hi! I am Morgan. I grew up in beautiful Chattanooga, Tennessee. I am married to Jacob, a resident at UAB, and we have two daughters, ages 2 and 4. As a family, we enjoy spending time outside in nature or in our small backyard garden. We love reading together with our girls, and I enjoy making homemade treats like sourdough cinnamon rolls in the kitchen. I have been interested in health since I was in high school, and the Lord increasingly grew a passion for holistic health, addressing the needs of body, soul, and spirit, in my heart. I first saw this approach modeled by a residency program when I was a medical student in Memphis and got to interact with some Resurrection Health residents. Seeing them incorporate prayer, worship, and community into medical practice was inspiring. I wanted my medical practice to be ministry too, inviting God’s spirit to work powerfully in my life and in the lives of my patients.
I was interested in Family Medicine as a first year medical student and thought at that point I would probably try to do residency in Memphis at Resurrection Health. What I didn’t know was that God had (really good) other plans. I am still learning to rely on and rest in His guidance (Proverbs 3:5-6; Proverbs 16:9). Over the years, I have prayed earnestly that God would build my faith, and He keeps faithfully answering that prayer. If you want to hear the full story sometime, let me know, and we can grab a coffee and talk for a few hours. It is a good story -- one only God could author!
My husband, who was a fourth year medical student when I started medical school in 2013, matched into Neurosurgery residency at UAB in Birmingham, Alabama. We were very grateful for a good match for him, but less than excited at the prospect of long-distance marriage while I finished school. Things got more complicated (in all the good ways) when we found out (surprise!) we were expecting our first baby just a few months after Jacob had moved to Birmingham. Our first-born daughter, Madison, was born in the middle of my first clinical rotation of third year. What a gift she is. One of my hesitations as a young woman going into my pre-med college years and looking at the long educational road ahead was, “when am I going to have kids?”. I do not think we would have had the courage to make the decision to have kids on our own, but God gave Madison to us anyways :), and He also gave us the grace and provision to raise her in the midst long-distance marriage, a dad in residency, and a momma doing med school clinicals (and dashing off intermittently to pump breast milk).
As I prayed about residency applications, I did not feel peace about applying for residency during my fourth year of medical school. I filled out my entire ERAS application and never turned it in. I decided to take a year off to be with Jacob and Madison. Our hearts were also ready for another baby, and we soon found out we were expecting Emery, our second daughter, in July 2017, right after my graduation. That was a great year of being together and loving our babies. And, when the time came to apply for residency that fall, I again had no peace about it. This was a confusing time for me because I felt like taking two years off would mean I would not get that chance to ever go back and do residency. It felt like I was completely surrendering the dreams I had and did not know what the future held. I prayed a lot. God was still saying ‘no’. I didn’t apply for residency that fall. Then, Jacob found out in November that he was accepted for an amazing opportunity in global neurosurgical research for his research year. Things made sense again. I was grateful that I was not starting residency in summer 2018 because we ended up leaving the country and spent a breathtaking, vision-enlarging, and challenging year living in Uganda and Vietnam. We had always dreamed of raising our girls with a global perspective, and we were really fortunate to introduce that so early in their lives. Jacob was inspired by what he learned and gained vision for his future practice. If I had been in residency, we would not have been able to experience that formative year as a family.
As we packed up a year’s worth of our belongings into four suitcases, left our home in the hands of strangers (also a miracle, we were able to sublet our home the entire year to wonderful people who cared for it and also fed our cat...sometimes, it’s the little things!), and loaded our two babies onto a trans-atlantic flight, the Lord was moving my heart to apply for residency. I reflect on the opportunity to do residency at Cahaba in Birmingham as a miracle. When Jacob matched to Birmingham, I gave up my dream of doing residency at Resurrection, but God brought that full circle by bringing this passionate group of people with that same vision from Memphis to Birmingham. And, here we are. It is a joy to be part of the Cahaba community, and I look forward with great anticipation to see what the story of God’s faithfulness holds for West End and Birmingham, for Cahaba, and for our family over the next three years. Please reach out if you have any questions about residency or life in Birmingham! I would love the chance to talk with you.
Kate Abraham, MD, MPH - #006UA
I am a disciple of Christ, a wife to the kind, patient man whose picture is probably right below this, a mom to 2 year old Anaiya and a baby boy due in September 2018, and a family medicine intern at Cahaba! I applied to medical school for selfish reasons, but thanks to God's grace He has made me completely new and medicine is now an opportunity to bring Him the glory He deserves. I am thankful for everything I learned in medical school but also so grateful to be finished with that season. I love enjoying the privilege of being someone's doctor. I love working alongside people I consider my sisters and brothers. I love getting to care for people holistically. And I love Cahaba and am so grateful to be here! A few of my favorite parts...
1. I love how I am encouraged to "love my neighbor as myself" just as Jesus commands us. Prior to moving to Birmingham we lived in an apartment complex in Durham, NC where refugees are resettled for four years. I had never experienced friendships so rich and deep. The community that came from physically living in the same place was incomparable. My ability to understand the health disparities my neighbors faced also grew. Medical school was challenging though because driving 20 minutes to the hospital or library each day and caring for a completely different patient population felt out of place. Here at Cahaba I get to serve and be served by my neighbors both on my front porch and at our clinic. I recognize most of my patient's addresses. I can hand out my business card to new friends we meet on our morning walks. The services our clinic offers to the uninsured (which there are so many of in Birmingham unfortunately) are incomparable to other options in the city, and the clinic is placed strategically in a neighborhood home to many people who struggle with access to medical care.
2. I am being trained and mentored in EVERY area of my life. I will not leave Birmingham as just a better doctor. I will leave as a better follower of Jesus, wife, mom, neighbor, teammate, friend, disciple maker...and doctor. Our family is passionate about global health and physical and spiritual injustices, so are preparing to work overseas long-term. Our life will definitely not look like just seeing patients in clinic or only rounding at the hospital everyday, and I am so grateful that I have been given an opportunity to fully prepare for that now.
3. Because our track of the program is fairly new, we are gaining valuable exposure to how residency programs are built. Things like giving feedback respectfully, what types of learning are high yield, how to build good relationships with hospitals in the area, and how to teach and train staff. We hope to be a part of teaching, training, and discipling future doctors both in the US and overseas as our careers continue, making this experience foundational to our time in residency.
4. We are encouraged to care for the whole person by attendings who are actively doing this themselves. This does not mean just an offer for prayer at the end of the visit - which is all I saw or heard about during medical school. This means really engaging people about where they are in their relationship with God. This means asking if they have a personal relationship with Jesus and what that looks like, and following up on what they share. This means telling stories from God's word. This means praying for them faithfully outside of their visit. This also usually means getting tissues for not only my patient but myself as well...or is that just the pregnancy hormones ;)
Come visit us!! We are just down the street from the clinic! I am always up for sharing a meal (that probably won't taste great...the struggle when you love showing hospitality but can barely follow a recipe and have a 2 year old manning the mixing spoon), going on a walk - or a run after this baby pops out!, hanging out with kiddos, or just sitting on the porch and listening to what God is teaching you and where He is leading you. His plans are perfect and always so far beyond our expectations. If you can't visit, please feel free to email anytime (email@example.com) - happy to talk about picking a specialty, interviews, rank lists, intentional living, being a momma in medicine (like having a baby during intern year...let's hope I survive that one to tell about it!!), global health, public health, faith in medicine, anything!
Paul Abraham, MD - #006UB
I grew up in Houston, TX and started med school at UT Southwestern in Dallas. I met my wife Kate at a Christian Community Health Fellowship Conference (these are incredible! please check them out if you haven't heard of them...they offer scholarships for students and residents if finances are a problem) and transferred to the University of North Carolina to finish medical school after we got married. We are preparing to serve overseas when we complete our medical training. We are thankful God led us to Cahaba because of the strong community here, the constant reminders of God's promises and faithfulness, and the daily challenge to hold fast to our calling and die to ourselves. We are honored to be a part of a primary care center that strives to care for underserved populations and is able to do so with excellence. Outside of residency, some of my favorite things to do are study God's word and discuss it with others, play basketball, and hang out in our neighborhood.
We would love to host you, have you over for a meal, or get to know you if you're able to visit so please reach out! Also ask any questions, I'd be happy to chat more about my path in medicine, the program, missions, being a husband and father in medicine, or anything else - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, here are some of my favorite verses and how I apply them:
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21
--Where I spend my time and energy shows what I value and care about. This is true even during medical school and residency. We can't wait till we are done with training to invest in the things God is calling us to.--
"Seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8
--Care about the injustices in society, care for others, and realize that all you have is from God.--
"Blessed are the peackemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." Matthew 5:9
--Children of God seek to create peace in this world.--
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:25-27
--Don't stress because God is in control, even over the most basic things.--
Alex Lea, MD - #006UC
I was born and raised in the suburbs of Nashville, TN. I then spent the next near decade in beautiful Greenville, SC as an undergrad at Furman University and as a med student at USC-Greenville. I entered college as a premed student who saw medicine as the default trajectory for someone who enjoyed and excelled in sciences and who wanted to do something good and meaningful. The deeper I pursued sciences in college and the more I learned about myself through new relationships outside of my bubbled home the more I began to question my "default path." It was in college that the Lord revealed to me the goodness of His grace and His calling of me to enter into His Kingdom work. I began to pursue trips to several different low-income countries and found the answer to the good and meaningful life I had dreamed of by working among the poor and destitute and seeing the transformative power of the gospel in those communities. I also saw healthcare being delivered in a context that I felt matched my passions, often with a public health focus, and often by family doctors. I entered medical school prepared to grind out 4 years always looking ahead to returning to the mission field. When it came to choosing a residency, there were a handful of programs that kept being mentioned among overseas friends. I entered the interview season with the prayer that I would choose a program and a community that would make me a better follower of Jesus as well as a better doctor. I found that place in Memphis, TN with Rez early in the process and never really thought twice about it. I was committed to Rez and was very ready to return to TN for the next chapter of life and enter into intentional living and a robust training program that had a history of sending doctors to the nations. And when the Lord saw fit to close Rez over Christmas and take a remnant to Birmingham to form the "Cahurban track" the decision was still the same. I wanted to be apart of something that challenged my faith and would deepen my dependence on the Lord, and starting a brand new track with lots of question marks sounded like a fertile ground for my soul. I knew I would be surrounded by my Good Father and by some of the most inspiring people in medicine that I had ever come across. Now that I'm in Bham and settling into the community of West End, when I'm not doing medicine, I enjoy hiking the great outdoors, playing basketball on 8-foot hoops, and watching indie films pretending like I see the symbolism.
Sajel Nuwamanya, MD - #006UD
My name is Sajel and I grew up in beautiful Michigan. I initially avoided the calling of medicine, because I felt that it was too difficult and demanding. After college, I volunteered in Uganda and during this time, God drew my heart towards Himself, showing me that He was calling me to work WITH Him and not to work FOR Him or for others. I eventually decided to pursue medicine with the freedom of knowing that I am not a slave to the competitive side of medicine that constantly measures and compares. This is a spectacular difference in outlook that I have to remind myself of because medicine is demanding and can lead to feelings of isolation and depression. I chose to come to Cahaba Family Medicine residency because I need to be reminded of who I am working for. I need co-residents and faculty that care about my spiritual health as well as my ability to diagnose and treat disease. My job doesn’t end with a signature on my last clinic note but continues as I struggle with my co-residents and faculty to be a good neighbor. I’m here because practicing excellent medicine is a daily opportunity to join in the work God is already doing in Birmingham and around the world to bring physical and spiritual healing.
Malia Swanson, MD - #006UE
I am from Boulder, CO, and attended medical school at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. I chose Cahaba Urban track because its a place where patients are cared about as whole people; spiritual, emotional and physical. Cahaba urban is filled with passionate faculty that lead by example. These faculty encourage and guide us in providing medical care to people who struggle to receive the care they need. I hope to work abroad in a low healthcare access setting and so chose a program that will prepare me spiritually and academically for that setting. For rest and rejuvenation, I like to hike along Vulcan trail with my husband, daughter and son.
Rubin Varghese, MD, PharmD - #006UF
My name is Rubin. My family immigrated to the States from India when I was 3. I grew up in Oklahoma City. I was brought up in a traditional Christian household but I was a nominal believer. During my undergraduate studies, my faith became my own and become the center point of my life.
I pursued a degree in pharmacy, but this is where God taught me there is more to life than making a lot of money and being comfortable.
I felt an increasing desire to respond to the Gospel by using my life to live out the Kingdom of God on this earth. My last year in pharmacy school, I went on a mission trip which opened my eyes up to global health care disparities. I felt the urge to practice health care at a wider scope and uses my skill set to impact the disenfranchised and underrepresented in local and global communities.
I went to medical school at the University of Oklahoma. Although I drifted through some others specialties during medical school I found that family medicine gave me the widest scope of practice and continuity of care. I chose Cahaba Family Medicine Residency because I had an interest in global health and taking care of the underserved and marginalized in a Christian context. I knew I wanted a program that gave me the opportunity for discipleship and the ability to minister to others through my profession. I wanted to be surrounded by a community who was intentional about their faith in and out of the clinic. I found that Cahaba FMR would challenge my growth spiritually and as a physician. I want my career to mean more than just the number of patients I can see or procedures I can complete. Rather I would have my career defined by the quality of care for each individual patient and how I use that to advance the Kingdom.
Matthew 4:19 - And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
From: the Ozarks
Interests: backpacking, adventure motorcycle riding, bacon
Previous life: stained glass glazer, cabinet builder, worship pastor, church planter, wilderness EMT
Influences: John Piper, John Wimber, church planting movements, the men who have discipled me over the years, and countless nameless/faceless missionaries who are laying down their lives in the hardest places among the least-reached peoples of the world.
Why Cahaba: I wasn’t premed in undergrad. I majored in International Studies, went through my church’s training school, and spent the next few years as a full time church planter. During that time I was in and out of countries afflicted by war and natural disasters, and the Lord eventually led me into medicine.
My hope is to move overseas after residency and continue using disaster and conflict medicine as a means of disciple-making among least-reached people groups. Jesus said, “stop judging by outward appearances, but judge with right judgment” (John 7:24). The places where the world is shaking the most are often the places where God is moving most powerfully. Satan knows his time is short, and wherever he loses ground he lashes out in a last-ditch attempt to destroy as many lives as possible. But Jesus is sovereignly moving through such suffering to bring many to salvation. These are also the places from which Jesus is crying out to His bride, “I am hungry, naked, and imprisoned - come to Me!” May we be the Church and manifest His presence among the least-reached peoples of the earth in their hour of greatest need!
What I love about Cahaba is their passion to join Jesus in the hard places, for the sake of the marginalized and oppressed, for the glory of the King. This is a residency where caring for underserved populations doesn’t merely mean providing medicine. It is truly holistic: living among our patients, sharing life with them, ministering to the whole person. It is also a place where teams form and physicians are sent to the nations. While many medical missionaries spend years learning medicine and only a few months trying to learn how to become a missionary, here one has the opportunity to learn both the medical and missionary skills needed on the field.
DEREK CHUI, DO - #005UA/#007Rez
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” - Romans 8:37
Praise God that He has made us more than conquerors! My name is Derek Chui. Fun fact: my relatives have the last name Tsui, but my dad changed it to Chui when he came to America, and I reap the benefits of being earlier in the alphabet. Small details like that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but I’m learning daily that God still cares about the smallest details of our lives. I am continually amazed at the grace of my Savior, and how he works all things for good.
Now for some other details. I grew up in the great state of Texas and have lived there all my life. I developed a passion for community resources early in life, and saw that grow as I witnessed brokenness in the school environment. I learned to love education, and it was here that God began to stir my affection for the marginalized. Long before I saw medicine as a career, God was teaching me that service to Him should be preeminent. Medicine came on the scene after a brief stint as an emergency medical technician in high school, where steadfast first responders took me in as their own and showed me what it meant to be serve others well. I soon began to realize that as a physician, I could see patients through care from beginning to end, and be both a social and medical resource in the pursuit of health through long term relationships.
I attended college close to home, and here God was gracious enough to help me make my faith my own, as I learned what it meant to be wrecked before Him. In this time, God began to put in my heart an awareness of a broken medical system and brokenness in me. The Spirit helps us in our weakness! He brought me through college and into medical school, where I had the opportunity to walk alongside accountable guys who showed me that present sufferings are nothing compared to coming glory. As third year of medical school approached, choosing family medicine was easy: it is the ultimate specialty for community resource management and full-spectrum care, so I began to look for programs that would allow me to dive into the community and learn to be a resource in all facets to patients. I heard about Rez through alumni at my medical school and a mutual friend at church, and spent a month rotating here in November. I was moved with joy to find Christian disciples that cared deeply about their neighborhoods, sought to invest in their community, and approached the throne of grace with humility as a part of their medical training. I saw passionate folks who poured into students, each other, and the city. I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else: these were the mentors I needed and the spiritual discipline I was seeking! So far, Tennessee has been all sorts of different. The right kind of different, though, where you’re challenged to grow and learn dependence on God. If He is for us, who can be against us, right? This is such a special place, and I am so grateful and honored to be here in Memphis, serving alongside fellow heirs with Christ!
CHERIE SALISBURY, DO - #005UB/#007Rez
I am originally from Charlotte, NC and trained at Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine in rural NC. I am passionate about preventative medicine and believe that working to anticipate health needs is one of the best ways that we can stay healthy. I am so thankful to be working at Cahaba along side such sweet staff who truly care for our patients. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband, Ben, gardening, hiking, and traveling!
PENNSON WANG, MD - #005UC/#007Rez
Coming from an atheist/agnostic background, the first 18 years of my life were lived in pursuing my own pleasures and ambitions. It was in college when I came to know Christ and the trajectory of my life drastically changed. Given that I had come to Christ in a college setting where I was heavily involved with serving in the campus ministry, after completing college, I seriously considered the possibility of pursuing ministry. However, during the three years in between college and medical school, the Lord showed me that my motives in wanting to pursue ministry were primarily selfish and self-centered. I began to truly seek what the Lord desired for me to do after college, and it became clear over months of praying that I was to apply and enter into medical school.
I quickly found once I hit the clinical years that medicine was a field that encouraged and at many times, rewarded performance, knowledge, and ego. As a result, during my time in medical school, unrecognized by me, medicine crept into my heart and I made it into an idol. Moreover, there was another idol in my heart—one that was the result of growing up in a middle-class family in which I never lacked anything or had any physical need: the idol of comfort. As I began to look towards where the Lord was leading me after medical school, He exposed both of these idols in their ugliness. I came to realize that I was building my own kingdom rather than the Lord’s; seeking my own security rather than being willing to follow the Lord wherever He may lead me; and making medicine the ultimate thing, rather than having it be a tool that is to be taken up or placed down at the Lord’s command. All of this was being revealed to me when I was a student rotating at Rez, and it was at Rez where I was being challenged the most in these areas. Now, as a resident at Rez, I do not imagine for a bit that the struggles in these areas will be easy to resolve or overcome; however, several things I do seek: to be reminded to keep medicine in its proper place as a means to an end, and not an end in itself; to not let comfort get in the way of going where the Lord would have me go; and to be consistently challenged—by brothers and sisters with more faith than myself—to not seek my own kingdom, but the Lord’s Kingdom and righteousness first. “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph 3:20-21, NASB)