NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Rebekah Naylor, an emeritus Southern Baptist missionary physician who served for 35 years at Bangalore Baptist Hospital in India, has joined the staff of Baptist Global Response as a U.S.-based health care consultant.
Naylor will play a key role in connecting health care personnel with people in need around the world, said Jeff Palmer, executive director of the international relief and development organization.
“We are excited about Rebekah’s joining the Baptist Global Response team. She is a household name for anyone who has even the slightest familiarity with the past three decades of Southern Baptist international medical work,” Palmer said. “Thanks in great part to her leadership, Bangalore Baptist Hospital has been a shining example of living out the compassion of Christ among people in need and helping them discover the meaningful, purposeful life God created them to enjoy.”
Naylor’s name recognition and credibility among health care professionals both in the United States and abroad make her a valuable partner for mobilizing medical workers to help people around the world who suffer with little or no access to medical care, Palmer added.
“Having a medical professional of Dr. Naylor’s caliber working with us creates instant access with medical/health care communities in the USA,” Palmer said. “Her history and standing with Southern Baptists give her immediate access and networks into the mainstream Southern Baptist health care communities.”
A 200-bed acute-care general hospital, Bangalore Baptist Hospital has treated hundreds of thousands of patients both at the hospital and in villages for more than three decades. The hospital’s educational programs have trained hundreds of doctors, nurses, allied health personnel and chaplains. The spiritual dimension of its ministry helped hundreds of people each year personally experience the love of God and learn how to share that abundant life with others.
International Mission Board President Jerry Rankin sees a natural transition in Naylor’s move from hands-on medical work overseas to mobilizing medical professionals for overseas service.
“Medical missions has been and continues to be a significant strategy for Southern Baptist mission work around the world. More than 200 overseas personnel use their medical skills as they minister to those in need and share about the Great Physician,” Rankin said. “In many places, the need is at a crisis level.
“Dr. Naylor’s work with medical missions groups like the Global Medical Alliance has laid a great foundation for this new role mobilizing health care professionals for overseas service,” Rankin said. “Baptist Global Response is a key 21st-century partner for IMB in ministering to human needs and suffering around the world, and this addition to their team will enhance work on both acute and chronic medical needs. Dr. Naylor understands how medicine can bring hope — now and for eternity — to people in need.”
BGR’s focus on relief and development work naturally gravitates toward medical work, Palmer added.
“From the very beginning, we have been thinking how best to incorporate the medical aspect we have needed into the work,” Palmer said. “Health care issues come up all the time. Out of 500-plus projects administered by BGR this past year, about a third had a significant health-care component. Having Rebekah come on board at this time in this role is a valuable strategic addition to what BGR is trying to do.”
For her part, Naylor is pleased to continue focusing on overseas medical needs after retiring Feb. 1, 2009, from a career at the Bangalore hospital that included serving as a surgeon, chief of medical staff, administrator and medical superintendent.
“God has clearly directed this step on all sides and affirmed the decision made,” Naylor said. “I feel so privileged to have an ongoing role in international missions and meeting human needs through medicine. Because God has asked me to do this, I am full of anticipation as I look ahead.
“I hope Southern Baptists can become more aware of what God is doing today through overseas medical projects. I hope that they will respond with investment of time and resources,” Naylor added. “I am delighted to have an opportunity to connect people here in the U.S. with needs overseas. Especially among people groups that have heard nothing about Christ’s love, I pray that more doors will be opened for meeting human needs and helping people discover the abundant life God wants them to enjoy.”
A native of Arkansas, Naylor is a graduate of Baylor University, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. During her tenure in Bangalore, she founded programs in allied health training and medical residency, a one-year diploma in pastoral healing ministry and a school of nursing that was named in her honor. She continues as a consultant with the Bangalore hospital, as an attending surgeon at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas and as an active member of the staff at UT Southwestern University Hospital, also in Dallas.
Released by the communications staff of Baptist Global Response. Rebecca Naylor may be contacted at [email protected]; postal address: Baptist Global Response, 402 BNA Drive Suite 411, Nashville, TN 37127.