Why the Fountain School for Community and Global Health?
The demand for Christian wholistic health practitioners has never been greater. In the West the culture is increasingly being transformed by the prevailing secular humanist religion the result being a diminished value to life and a nihilistic pursuit of “health.” The doctor patient relationship is fast becoming a thing of the past as healthcare provider groups (clinics, hospitals, etc) are quickly becoming absorbed by large impersonal disease cost management conglomerates.
In developing nations there have been considerable improvements in “health” indices as measured by western standards but there is still massive unmet demand for compassionate healthcare providers and millions still die each year from easily prevented physical illness. An animistic worldview still dominates the cultures of many of the majority world countries and is often syncretized with a western understanding of Christianity giving rise to a confusing blend of healthcare options for the world’s poor. On the one hand it is still common for some to visit the local shaman when confronted with an illness, saving a visit to the local church run clinic or hospital until the disease is far advanced.
Into this massive challenge we are sending some of our best and brightest. Christian healthcare professionals who have a passion to serve the poorest of the poor in the most difficult places on earth. Christian doctors, nurses, dentists, etc, have been putting their lives on the line to care for millions in the name of Christ, often at the risk of their very lives. But something has been missing since the beginning of the west’s efforts to help improve the health of the poor, be it in inner city Philadelphia or rural Uganda. Our schools do a masterful job of equipping students to care for the physical well-being of their patients but have always been challenged preparing them for the more difficult and often unforeseen intricacies of working effectively in another culture. Many Christian health professionals serving globally find themselves spending much of their time involved with things they were not prepared for. (see the PRISM study, available upon request)
Educational methods are some of the most rapidly changing in all societies. It seems a new idea for how to educate people is described on a weekly basis. It seems generally accepted that the old methods are no longer the best methods for educating students in the 21st century. The Fountain School seeks to take advantage of the latest thinking on how best to educate students who are called to serving the needy in Christian health. healing and wholeness ministries. We will prepare students for competency in their ministry and not just educate them by delivering content which is simply memorized and repeated at test taking. We envision various levels of HOW we will educate future Christian health and healthcare leaders:
Our history can be traced to an event that occurred in the life of Dr. Dan Fountain during his 35 years of service in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was the mid 1960's (the Fountain's began their work at Vanga hospital in 1961) and Dan was making rounds on the pediatric ward of the Vanga hospital. A 3 y/o boy by the name of Kilamba lay on his bed with a severely protruding abdomen. He was diagnosed as having Ascaris (intestinal worms) and was treated with the appropriate medication. But his condition did not improve. It was determined that Kilamba was suffering from an intestinal obstruction and would require surgery to alieve his condition. Surgery was risky but ended up successful. (497 worms were removed) Kilamba returned home to his village, four hours away. Four months later Kilamba was again brought to the Vanga health clinic and again had a belly full of worms! In Dan's own words "A thundering question came to mind instantly - what on earth had I done for the health of this cute little boy? The answer was clear - absolutely nothing!" (From "Health for All: The Vanga Story" WCL, 2014)
Thus began Dan’s long journey into what has become known as community health and development. Dan and his team began to travel outside the walls of the Vanga hospital compound into the communities where the real problems of health resided. For the next 30 years Dan and Miriam and their teams at Vanga developed a deepening understanding of the massive challenges that faced them and all others in the world who were seeking to help people live healthy lives.
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