“Health Missionaries: Called to Serve Him,” Ensign, July 2011, 77
When most members think about missionaries, they picture those who proselytize. Less familiar are the Church’s missionary doctors and nurses—men and women with medical training called to coordinate the health of proselytizing missionaries throughout the world.
The Missionary Department implemented the health missionary program in 1983; today approximately 80 health missionaries serve full-time health missions across the world.
“This is a calling that is really needed,” said Deanne Francis, chair of the Church’s missionary nurse specialist committee. “There are so many who are qualified and interested in something like this and just aren’t aware of the opportunity.”
Health missionaries may include single registered nurses who are either seniors or are between the ages of 19 and 25, or retired couples where one spouse is a registered nurse or a medical doctor. Health missionaries are called to serve at their own expense for 18 months to two years.
While at the Missionary Training Center, health missionaries receive medical training in addition to language and teaching training.
“It’s an opportunity to take that knowledge and that love for helping others and apply it in the mission field,” Sister Francis said.