On Friday, April 23, 2021, PAACS held its third virtual Board of Directors meeting. This meeting provided an opportunity to commemorate PAACS 25-year milestone as a ministry. It was a delight to celebrate two and a half decades of God’s faithfulness to PAACS.
The Open-Session of the meeting was attended by over 100 participants. The audience consisted of PAACS Board of Directors, leadership, faculty, as well as guests. Although we were unable to meet in person, these virtual conferences provide the bonus opportunity for people around the globe to participate.
Dr. Thomas Robey, PAACS Chairman, welcomed all participants to the Open-Session of the virtual meeting. Dr. David Thompson, PAACS Founder, in celebration of our 25th anniversary, led off the meeting with a time of devotion and prayer. He thanked God for His faithfulness and challenged the audience to have stubborn faith when things may not be going well. He warned against murmuring and complaining but encouraged everyone to trust God in the midst of difficulties and trials. Dr. William Wood, PAACS Academic Dean, started off the administrative reports for PAACS by announcing that he would be retiring after 10 years with the ministry. This is a great loss for PAACS because Dr. Wood has provided tremendous wisdom and guidance to the PAACS surgical training programs. Following this time, Susan Koshy, PAACS Chief Executive Officer, presented an administrative summary of the PAACS ministry. She provided a historical overview of PAACS over 25 years and discussed the current and future work of the ministry. Dr. Keir Thelander, PAACS Executive Vice President, discussed the future growth of PAACS programs in Africa and potential new sites being considered to be a part of PAACS. He also provided a detailed update on each of the current PAACS programs. Dr. Ed Scearce, PAACS Spiritual Dean, then provided an update on the work of PAACS spiritually and the progress of updating the spiritual curriculum.
This year PAACS had a number of faculty as presenters during the Open-Session meeting. Dr. Jim Brown, PAACS Program Director at Mbingo Baptist Hospital in Cameroon, spoke about running a PAACS surgical training program in the midst of conflict. He expressed his heart and shared his experience and walk with God through this time of turmoil at Mbingo. Dr. Phillip Blasto, PAACS Program Director at AIC Litein Hospital in Kenya, spoke about running a PAACS training program and shared his experience as a PAACS graduate leading this program at Litein. Dr. Beryl Akinyi, Assistant Program Director at AIC Kijabe Hospital in Kenya told about her experience of being a surgeon in Africa, as well as being a female surgeon. Finally, Dr. Tim Nunn, the Program Director for the Ethiopia/CURE Orthopedic Program discussed his experience in leading the PAACS/CURE orthopedic program in Ethiopia and training the next generation of orthopedic surgeons.
In addition to these presentations, Dr. Lance Plyer, Director of World Medical Mission, spoke about PAACS and WMM working together to provide surgical excellence in Africa. PAACS Committee Chairs then provided reports during the Open-Session meeting. The Chairs provided an update on the work of their Committees and future actions that are being considered. Each of the Committees met virtually prior to the meeting to bring forth actions and ideas to be considered by the PAACS Board of Directors.
The PAACS Open-Session of the Board meeting concluded by early afternoon and moved into the ClosedSession with the PAACS Board of Directors and administration members only.
During the Closed-Session of the meeting, the Board of Directors approved the minutes from the previous meeting, then reviewed and accepted changes to the PAACS board policy manual as presented by the Governance Committee. They also reviewed and accepted the PAACS 2021-2022 budget (over 3 million dollars for the first time) as recommended by the Finance Committee.
The PAACS Board of Directors is in the midst of a five-year strategic-planning process. The Board of Director recently crafted and approved a new mission and vision statement for the ministry.
New Mission Statement:
PAACS’ mission is to glorify God by training and discipling African surgeons and related specialists to become Christ-like leaders and servants providing excellent and compassionate care to those most in need.
NEW Vision Statement:
PAACS envisions a growing number of African surgeons and related specialists living out the Gospel and ministering to the sick.
During the course of the Closed-Session meeting, the Board also approved the development of four new strategic initiatives upon which the strategic plan would be built.
A new PAACS Grievance Policy was approved. The Grievance Policy is for both residents and faculty and provides a mechanism to solicit engagement from PAACS for specific issues. The Board also approved a Statement on PAACS’ Responsibility and Role with Faculty. This statement was developed in conjunction with current and former PAACS faculty and PAACS administration. The Board also voted to require a Spiritual Assessment tool to be utilized annually as a part of the discipleship portion of PAACS programs.
Exciting news that came from the Board meeting included the approval of two new PAACS General Surgery programs. As recommended by the various committees and general surgery council, they approved a new program at the Hopitaly Vaovao Mahafaly Mandritsara in Madagascar and a program at Nkhoma Mission Hospital in Malawi to begin training in January 2022. Please see the article in this edition.
The Board accepted the resignation of Dr. William Wood and approved Dr. John “Tarp” Tarpley as the new PAACS Academic Dean. Dr. Tarpley will be taking on this role by September 2021. See the accompanying article.
The Board then ratified the appointment of Dr. Peter Ekeh as the new African Representative on the Board to complete the term of Dr. Charles Adisa, who passed away in December of 2020. Dr. Ekeh, a faculty member at Wright State University and the North American representative for the West African College of Surgeons, will provide balance and new perspectives to the Board, and we welcome him as a member of the Board of Directors.
The PAACS Spring Board of Directors Meeting was successful, and much was accomplished in a short period of time. We hope to meet in-person October 15-16 in Chicago for the Fall PAACS Board of Directors Meeting.