There have been a few changes in our local CMDA Richmond leadership, Dr. Bill Angus stepped down after several years of faithful leadership. I had the privilege to be appointed as president with Dr. James Anderson as president-elect, Dr. Victoria Kuester secretary, and Dr. Thomas Meeks continued on as the treasurer for the group.
My association with CMDA began in the early 1970s when I was still a medical student. I can vividly recall meeting with other East Coast student leaders in Philadelphia during those years. More recently, my activity with our local chapter increased seven years ago when I retired from active clinical practice and began working for OrthoVirginia in an administrative capacity. I committed myself to begin attending the Thursday night meetings at Leigh Street Baptist Church. At the time, Dr. Ed and his wife, Debby Read, RN were leading the local student chapter. Dr. Scott Armistead assumed this role a few years ago while Ed and Debby pursued their new calling to build a home for women, Journey Home, in Louisa county.
March 6, 2020, was the date of the most recent RCMDA annual banquet. Dr. Mike Chupp, CEO of CMDA was the keynote speaker. Tom Grosh, the new North East regional CMDA director and his wife, Teresa, were also in attendance at this banquet. Earlier this year on January 4, 2020, an ethics conference was held at Saint Giles Presbyterian Church. Thank you to those who participated in these events and we look forward to other opportunities to fellowship together.
To close, I would like to inform you of a new initiative of the CMDA Richmond council. We are currently sponsoring an effort to provide CMDA houses for professional students in the Church Hill area to live together in Christian community combating sentiments of stress and loneliness prevalent in professional medical programs. It will also serve as a space to hold Bible Study and other fellowship opportunities throughout the academic year. There are up to three ways you can assist in this endeavor:
Pray that the Lord will provide the students and bless them as they live in community
Sharing the information with any Christian students/residents in Richmond who need housing or are coming to Richmond for medical education.
Donate to cover the housing costs to keep these great properties off the market until they rent to full capacity as well as to cover the costs of furnishing common areas. Donations are accepted online or mailing a check to CMDA Richmond, 11718 Heathmere Circle, Midlothian Virginia 23113 and entering “housing” on the memo line.
Finally, from 2 Timothy 1:6 as Dr. Chupp closes many of his letters, the RCMDA Council is here “to fan into flame the gift of God” that resides in each one of our lives, and especially within the lives of the students we serve.
By Drs. Scott Armistead & Krystal Mattox
The pandemic’s disruption in the lives of our students has been significant. All classes have gone online, so most students have left Richmond and are living at home. Second-year medical students who completed their STEP 1 exam are in waiting mode to start their third-year rotations or, if they have not completed the exam, are facing uncertain dates for the exam. Third-year medical students are attempting rotations in a variety of ways, but the school has not yet decided how to make up the essential rotations that cannot be done well via an online classroom setting. Fourth-year dental students are uncertain of the next steps regarding taking patient boards for licensure which were originally scheduled for April 2020 and might be rescheduled in June, this would affect residency and job opportunities. Fourth-year medical students’ final rotations are canceled and they are in waiting mode for residency to start in the summer. Despite some of our graduates being unable to partake in commencement events, we will still have a meaningful opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments. Residents, like practitioners, are facing the challenge of being exposed to COVID-19 patients and to what degree to self-quarantine or for their spouses to do the same. These decisions are complex.
All this has meant that weekly Bible studies, book discussions, and a Good Friday service have moved to zoom, though some small in-person get-togethers with those who remain in Richmond are happening. A planned on-campus inter-faith dialogue and future student retreat have been put on hold. All these changes have lead to several discussions with students regarding risk and the practice of medicine.