It was a privilege to attend my first Vision conference in January 2019. My husband, Rob, and myself flew from Canberra to the Gold Coast and then caught the bus to Burleigh Heads. As we trundled our bags up the hill to the conference centre with some anticipation, I wondered what was in store? We quickly found our room and then met with others for a cold drink in the communal dining room.
Right from the start the atmosphere was friendly and welcoming, as we met some young doctors and medical students of all nationalities and some more experienced CMDFA members. The purpose of the Vision weekend is to encourage and inspire leadership skills in our wonderful Christian medical and dental students and recent graduates. Mentors are invited who are willing to come for the weekend to mingle and get to know the students. The programme included Bible studies, mentor groups, workshops for leadership skills, forums for hot topics in Christian ministry, planning time for university campus ministry and praise and worship.
Our speaker was Associate Professor Andrew Cole, a long-time mentor of Vision. Andrew has been a Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine and conjoint academic with UNSW Medicine since 1985, and also HammondCare’s Chief Medical Officer since 2008. Andrew delivered talks from the book of Daniel illustrating principles about Christian leadership: Daniel’s unwavering faith in the face of persecution, his humility when elevated to high places and his commitment to speak the truth to authorities, even when it was unpopular. There was encouragement to us as Christian medical students, doctors and dentists to trust that our Lord Jesus is in control, and to look to Him when our values are threatened in both personal and professional situations. These talks also provided meaty food for discussion in our mentor groups!
The highlight for me was the opportunity to be a co-mentor to three students – Stephanie (Monash), Grace (UNSW) and Olivia (Adelaide). It was wonderful to engage in discussion together and slowly develop a relationship so that we could share and pray together.
The workshops were interesting and thought-provoking too. Each had the opportunity to choose two from the four offered: Work-Life Balance by Dr Catherine White (which I found very practical and encouraging), Dr Sneha Kirubakaran’s Leadership Theory and Practice (which was motivating and fascinating), A Christian Worldview led by Dr Maria Haase (which my husband Rob attended and found the discussion stimulating and helpful) and Dr Tash Yates led Teaching and Learning (which Rob also really enjoyed).
Overall it was a wonderful weekend, with yummy food including barista-style coffee (offered at a very modest price), fellowship, joyful praise and worship, a chance to learn and grow and also mentor our precious upcoming next generation of Christian doctors and dentists. There was a Christian bookshop with a great selection of interesting and topical books. I am hooked and will be there next year! I would strongly encourage anyone to come, whether you are a potential mentor or student. Thank you so much for your amazing organisation Dr Jacki Dunning and team!
Dr Dawn Glasgow
Dawn is a GP in Cooma in the Snowy Mountains region of NSW. She trained at the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine in London. Dawn and her husband, Rob, have been rural GPs for over 25 years. Dawn has an interest in mental health and qualifications in counselling and also enjoys singing and pastoral care in her local church.
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