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Asbury and the Medical Professions

Asbury has always stressed a calling to serve God’s people, and medicine has played a large part in answering that call. From its earliest days, many Asbury graduates have found their calling to serve in the area of medicine, dentistry, nursing, or a variety of other healthcare fields.

In the 1940’s, Drs. Hamann and Ray expanded and strengthened the growing science programs at Asbury. Since 1980 well over 200 of our students have gone on to graduate medical programs.

Asbury graduates are working in traditional medicine, osteopathy, physical therapy, physician assistant, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine and nursing. They serve both at home and on the mission field. Dr. Ernie Steury, class of 1953, was an influential physician working at Tenwek hospital in Kenya. Tenwek Hospital was founded in 1937 by World Gospel Mission missionaries and has since grown to be a leading provider of quality healthcare and medical education in Western Kenya, and one of the largest mission hospitals in Africa.

Many other Asburians have followed in his footsteps.

One of the best decisions I could have made for my future was to attend Asbury College. Not only did I develop fantastic relationships with people from all walks of life, but I learned how to critically think about what I was learning. This skill, and the edification I received as a biology major, provided me with a firm foundation for success and confidence to move into the future as a physician.
(Brittany Hale, Asbury 2008)

Discerning the Call

How do you know if God is calling you into a career in some area of medicine? You may have a deep interest that is reflected in what you read, watch on TV, or do in your free time. In addition you may have specific gifts that you feel led to use in the service of others, like exceptional eye-hand coordination, or giftedness in communicating and relating with others. On the other hand, you may be somewhat interested in medicine, but don’t know much about what is involved. Whatever the case, we invite you to join other Asbury students in times of fellowship, fun, and fact-finding. We offer a variety of ways for you to get involved, network with other students, and allow God to work in your life and in the lives of others, finding out what HE wants you to do.

Saturday Morning Rounds

One Saturday morning each month pre-med students gather in the science building to eat donuts and drink coffee! In addition to the great fellowship we also discuss such important topics as preparing for the MCAT, shadowing and volunteering, mission trips, choosing the right medical school, and interviewing (just to name a few). This is a wonderful informal way to interact with Dr. Branan, get to know other students, and to learn more about the path to medical school.

Nursing-Home Outreach

Three to four times a month Asbury students visit with the elderly in our community, playing games, singing, or participating in Bible study. Not only is this a wonderful Christian demonstration of love to others, it also is an ideal way to test your calling. Do you like being around the sick and elderly? Are you altruistic (which physicians are called to be)? How well do you communicate with others? We realize that activities like this are not normal for many students, which is why we provide opportunities for you to grow and improve by participating!


Asbury University has one of the first (and few) undergraduate chapters of CMDA (Christian Medical and Dental Associations)! CMDA sponsors medical mission trips, provides a network for spiritual and professional growth, sponsors student campus ministries on medical and dental school campuses (on almost 250 US medical and dental campuses), publishes educational and inspirational resources, and much more! At Asbury CMDA is our pre-health professions club, and recent activities have included:

  • Missions Conference – Attendance at the 3 day Global Missions Health Conference (GMHC). Held each year at Southeast Christian Church, GMHC is the world’s largest gathering of medical professionals, students and organizations dedicated to healthcare missions. The conference featured 150 breakout sessions, plenary speakers, 170 missions exhibitors and special events, providing students outstanding opportunities to make connections and learn about advancing the Kingdom through medical missions.
  • Outside speakers—We invite speakers from various health professions, medical school recruiters, and alumni to visit campus and share with students about their career or place where they work. Students have the opportunity to learn about the healthcare TEAM, and the larger picture of ways they can serve others in health-related careers.
  • Trips to medical schools—What does a medical school look like INSIDE? No one knows better than Admissions Counselors and students at the medical school! That is why we take a road trip with pre-med students every semester to visit a medical school, get a tour, and have Q&A time to learn what they want to see in an applicant. We also enjoy visiting gross-anatomy lab!


PHP 393, “Shadowing in the Health Professions”, is an elective course any student can take to learn more about the health professions by shadowing someone in a particular health-related career. Students often feel intimidated about contacting and asking a physician to shadow them. This course makes it easy, as Dr. Branan provides students with a list of health professionals who have already agreed to accept Asbury students. Students can choose to shadow 15 hours a semester (1 credit) or 30 hours (2 credits).

Pre-Med Studies

The undergraduate years of preparing for medical, dental, nursing, or pharmacy school involve rigorous academic studies in the areas of biology, chemistry, and physics. Those years also should include volunteer and healthcare-related activities such as shadowing, working / volunteering in a hospital or doctor’s office, mission-trips, working with children, etc. Admissions committees at medical schools not only want to see strong GPA and MCAT scores, they also value an applicant’s heart for the needs of others, and that they have some idea what is involved in being a physician.

Specific courses to help prepare students for applying to medical or dental schools are: general chemistry (1 yr), organic chemistry (1 yr), general biology (1 yr), physics (1 yr), biochemistry, physiology, psychology, sociology, and statistics. Additional recommended courses are genetics, physiology, immunology, and anatomy. View the Course Planning Guide for Pre-Med.

No single college degree program exists that includes all of the requirements for admission to every health profession school. Generally, you can choose whatever major you wish, then add in other required courses you will need.

Asbury University offers 45 undergraduate majors, and all of Asbury’s majors include a liberal arts curriculum that allows each student to explore a broad range of engaging areas of study. In most cases it is possible to take the courses required for admission to medical school in addition to the courses required for the major, and still graduate in 4 years. Of course, if you choose to major in the sciences, the majority of the premedical requirements are already included in the major.

As you prepare for a career in the health professions your choice of major is your choice, and should be an area you will enjoy and by which you can glorify God. If you are uncertain about your choice of major as you consider preparation for one of the health professions programs, our Health Professions Advisor, Dr. Bruce Branan, will be pleased to assist you.