CURE and the GMHC: Partnering for Underserved Children in Need
When a child steps into a CURE hospital, they’re warmly welcomed and deeply cared for inside and out. Our highly skilled surgeons attend to their treatable physical disability, while the ministry team provides ongoing prayer, counseling, and play therapy for them and their families. At CURE, these young patients find a community of supporters who want to help them heal in their bodies and souls.
Through our partnership with the Global Missions Health Conference (GMHC), we ensure our staff and volunteers are equipped to meet the demands of helping these children heal. That’s why CURE has participated in the GMHC as an exhibitor for 17 years and as a partner for five years.
At GMHC, the largest medical missions conference in the United States, medical professionals from across the globe come together to share information and connect with others in their field who have a heart for global health and mission work.
The people involved with both organizations come from various backgrounds but support each other in their passion for mission work.
Dr. Michael Russel: Preparing for the Future with the GMHC
In June 2010, five months after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, Dr. Michael Russel visited the country’s capital. He witnessed extraordinary suffering and what it was like when people had no access to healthcare.
“Even here in the Western Hemisphere, only two hours from the US, there was nobody there to help them,” he explains. “That was pretty eye-opening for me.”
In fact, that trip changed the course of his entire life. A college junior studying engineering at the time, he changed his focus to orthopedic medicine and volunteered at CURE to help children like those he saw in Haiti.
Dr. Michael is currently training as an orthopedic oncology fellow at UCLA and wants to use his gifts to help the world’s most vulnerable children, possibly through CURE’s ministry. The GMHC is a chance to connect with other CURE volunteers in the countries he feels called to serve.
“It’s really a neat time to compare stories and see what’s working for them and what’s not working, especially as [I] get ready to embark on a long-term career dedicated towards medical missions.”
Dr. Chelsea Willie: Teaching Students How to Fish
Dr. Chelsea Willie is a fan of the Chinese proverb “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” That’s because Dr. Chelsea, a board-certified anesthesiologist and assistant professor of anesthesiology at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, views medical missions in a similar way.
As a volunteer with CURE Ethiopia, she helps children in need and shares her faith and knowledge with the Ethiopian medical students with whom she serves. She sees her mission work as a chance to teach the students how to “fish.”
“That is why I like [serving at] CURE. You educate instead of just doing the [procedures] and then leaving,” she explains.
Before Dr. Chelsea decided to work internationally, she was a GMHC attendee. Her connections with others in the global health field gave her a solid understanding of what it would be like to spread God’s healing overseas. She soon realized how instrumental her work could be.
Dr. Chelsea has even recruited medical residents to accompany her to CURE Ethiopia, furthering the impact volunteers like her have on the disadvantaged children they serve. “There are always surgeries to be had,” she says. “[I] can always provide support [with anesthesiology].”
Dave Burgess: Following the Lord’s Call
Why would an orthopedic surgeon with a successful private practice in the United States give it all up and move to Malawi? For Dr. Dave Burgess, it was a call from the Lord.
“People see the love of Christ through medical care—how they are cared for,” says the surgeon from Virginia.
With his wife, Margie, Dr. Dave spent five years as CURE Malawi’s medical director, helping to heal children with treatable disabilities and sharing the good news of the gospel. He loved how the CURE Malawi staff showed the love of Christ through compassion and prayer. For him, the GMHC is a place to meet others with a similar passion for the life-changing work CURE does throughout Africa and the Philippines.
“GMHC is a wonderful time to worship. It’s a remarkable time where people that are interested in missions can spend time with people that have been missionaries and influential people in medical missions.”
In 2016, the Burgesses had to move back to the United States to care for Margie’s parents, but since then, Dr. Dave has attended the GMHC, where he answers questions about CURE and continues to be a strong supporter of the organization’s mission to help more kids heal.
Cassie Myre: Making a Difference Wherever Possible
During her physical therapy internship at a CURE hospital, Cassie witnessed an interaction between a nurse and the mother of a patient that inspired her to become a nurse herself. After the mom mentioned that she and her daughter had no food because they’d eaten it all during their long trip to the hospital, the nurse took care of them beyond the exam room and fed them in her home.
“CURE International genuinely loves the children they treat, and they will do everything in their power to ensure their patients get the best care available,” she says. “I hope that wherever I end up one day that I can bring this same attitude.”
Cassie left her full-time nursing career in 2019 to care for her son but volunteers at the GMHC’s CURE booth. “The GMHC was a terrific inspiration to me,” she says. “It greatly impacted my work as a nurse to care for the whole person the way Christ serves His church.”
Cassie continues to do her part by sharing her experiences about the needs the GMHC and CURE volunteers meet for children with treatable disabilities in parts of the world most lacking in accessible healthcare.
Making a Difference
The impact of the GMHC on CURE’s medical professionals and volunteers is immeasurable. While each of their stories is a little different, they are bound by their desire to share two things with some of the most underserved children in the world: their love for Jesus and their medical expertise.
Learn more about the Global Missions Health Conference.