Family Medicine Physician at Compassion Health Toledo in Ohio.
I am a family physician who currently works at a nonprofit clinic in Toledo, Ohio called Compassion Health Toledo. This is a relatively new clinic that has a mission to provide Christ-centered, affordable, and quality healthcare to those who need it the most. Prior to working at this clinic, I worked at Dayspring Family Health Center, which is a Christian community health center that serves in rural Appalachia in east Tennessee. I did my medical training at University of Toledo and went to residency in Memphis, where I was part of the first class of residents at the Christ Community Family Medicine Residency (although I technically graduated from the University of Tennessee Family Medicine Residency, Christ Community track). I have traveled to Madagascar, Cameroon, Nepal, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Peru, and India for medical mission work; however, I think my most significant work has been right here, within the communities I have been planted.
Tell us about God's specific call on your life for the gospel and care for the poor.
I first became interested in medicine and caring for the poor while on a medical mission trip to Madagascar during college. I met a physician there, named Dr. Lee, who had given up a successful career as a gastroenterologist in South Korea to live and practice medicine in Madagascar. When I asked him why, he replied, “Because there are people dying in Madagascar of things that I can treat.” As a relatively new Christian at the time, I was still trying to figure out how to follow God and how to choose a vocation that would please Him, and this simple response helped me so much! I, too, wanted to follow the Lord where He could use me effectively. This experience planted a seed that the Lord would nurture into a full desire to follow Him to the medical field. I am still learning what all this calling entails, as He continues to teach me new things, but I fall on John Piper’s advice when thinking about all the opportunities to care for others and spread the Gospel that medicine offers - “Know Scripture, know yourself, and know the need around you.”
How has being involved in CCHF impacted your life?
I attended medical school with the goal to serve the poor through healthcare. I assumed this would mean that I would move to a small village in Africa and care for the poor there. However, through listening to talks from or interviewing with CCHF speakers, such as Rick Donlon and Val Tramonte, I was challenged to understand that living missionally and caring for the poor would not happen immediately the day I stopped training if I did not prepare to do it and take part as a student and resident. I realized that after 3 ½ years of medical training as a student, I did not feel any closer to the calling to care for the poor. This is how I ended up going to residency, living, and hosting a house church in innercity Memphis. I wanted to grow. I wanted to learn from people I respected. And I wanted to start living out the Lord’s calling on my life without waiting until I finished learning. That was life changing. I trained with physicians who embody the values of CCHF, I was helped by Steve Noblett (the CEO of CCHF) to locate my first job at a rural Christian FQHC in Appalachia, and I grew in so many ways to understand the challenges and blessings of trying to live out the Gospel through healthcare to the poor and marginalized.
What is your life verse?
I don’t have a life verse. However, there are a few verses that come to mind often. “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” from Isaiah 43:1 is one that is important to me. Even though this verse doesn’t include my name with Jacob’s and Israel’s, I know it is true in my life, too. The Lord proves over and over again that He sees me, He knows me, and that He has claimed me as His. I can often forget this in a moment, when I am scared or angry with myself or discouraged by the world. However, remembering this simple verse, reminds me of all the times the Lord has moved me, directed my steps, protected me, showed me grace, and reminded me that I am His.
Tell us about your family.
I am not married and do not have kids, but I am blessed to have two incredible sisters, loving parents, lots of rambunctious nieces and nephews, and so many brothers and sisters in Christ in my life.
Name three interesting facts about yourself.
1. I grew up on a farm, and I still love to be outdoors. I feel the most at rest when hiking in the Smoky Mountains – they remind me that God created this world so beautifully!
2. I just ran a marathon!!! (I am not a runner, so I am still on cloud 9 about this…..although it was miserable…..)
3. My previous roommate, and one of my best friends, is also named Natalie. I forget that this can be confusing when I talk about her to other people, so it often sounds like I am talking about myself in the third person!