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Baptist is S.C. physician of the year

GREENWOOD, S.C. (BP)–Gary Goforth, director of medical education and the family medicine residency program at Self Regional Healthcare in Greenwood, S.C., has been honored as the 2007-08 Family Physician of the Year in his state.

The annual award by the South Carolina Academy of Family Physicians honors a family physician who provides compassionate and comprehensive care and serves as a role model professionally and personally to his community and other health professionals. Goforth, a member of South Main Street Baptist Church in Greenwood, received the honor Nov. 9.

A deacon, orchestra member, Sunday School teacher and member of numerous church committees at South Main Street Baptist, Goforth regularly volunteers at the Greater Greenwood United Ministries Free Medical Clinic, serving as its director.

A frequent medical missions volunteer, Goforth and his wife Kathy are planning to spend a year in Afghanistan, where he will help establish a residency program at a hospital and she will serve as a teacher.

“The beauty of it is that it is in a Christian hospital. It’ll be a remarkable chance to teach Muslims and also introduce them to Christ,” Goforth recently told Erskine Theological Seminary students during a recent chapel address in Due West, S.C., according to the school’s website.

A featured speaker for the Christianity and Public Service portion of the Erskine Lecture Series, Goforth was introduced to the students by seminary President Randall Ruble as a man who “represents the best of a layperson in the church today.”

The retired Army veteran and colonel in the National Guard has participated in more than 30 mission trips to Nigeria, Kenya, Thailand, Ecuador, the Philippines and other countries through Volunteers in Medical Missions since 1991. This year, he served in Sudan, Honduras and Mexico.

“People line up by the hundreds to see the doctors,” Goforth told the seminary students, noting that the VIMM organization has built eight clinics in Honduras. He said the group also is training village health care workers and providing educational seminars and health screenings.

VIMM efforts have made an impact in a number of ways, Goforth said. Seeing God at work throughout the world has included watching team members’ lives being changed, seeing patients accept Jesus as Savior, witnessing miraculous healings and seeing churches established in areas where VIMM teams have held clinics, he said.
Todd Deaton is managing editor of the Baptist Courier, newsjournal of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, on the Web at www.baptistcourier.com.

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