Bruce Carl Steffes, MD, MBA, MA(Bib Min), FACS, FWACS, FCS(ECSA), FICS
Dr. Bruce Steffes is a surgeon with 20 years’ experience in mission medicine. He spent 11 years in leadership of the Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons, 16 years in post-graduate medicine and remains active in development of curriculum and testing for PAACS and the College of Surgery of East, Central and Southern Africa. He is the author of “Medical Missions: Get Ready, Get Set, GO!” and “Your Mission: Get Ready, Get Set, GO!” He also has served 15 years with the CMDA-CMDE commission.
Dr. Steffes lives in Linden near Fayetteville NC. He is a native of Lapeer, Michigan. His undergraduate work was at Baptist Bible College of Pennsylvania (now Clarks Summit University) and the University of Michigan – Flint College. He graduated from the University of Michigan College of Medicine and then trained in general surgery at the University of Florida. Since that time, he has been also awarded a Masters of Business Administration from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and was certified in tropical medicine by the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. He has also received a Masters of Arts in Biblical Ministry from Baptist Bible College of Pennsylvania.
As a surgeon and as an entrepreneur in Fayetteville, NC, he underwent a personal and spiritual crisis that changed the focus of his life. He resigned from his practice in December, 1997. Since then, serving always as a volunteer and with a focus upon supporting the true heroes in the trenches, he and his wife (an accountant by training) have used their surgical, business and administrative skills in multiple hospitals and other missionary efforts in the developing world. He has spent the majority of each year since early 1998 as a volunteer physician and general surgeon in Haiti, Belize, Guatemala, Brazil, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Angola, Papua New Guinea, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. He has also visited several other countries and medical works in developing nations. He served regularly with the Mercy Ships and World Medical Mission (Samaritan’s Purse) doing short-term (up to six month) stints. He and his wife have worked with two orphanages in Jinja, Uganda. He has worked with several agencies and NGOs as a volunteer. In 2005, he developed a proposal for a pediatric national referral hospital in East Africa, working on behalf of the First Lady of that country. Sadly, that project did not come to fruition although all the plans and blueprints were made.
He is especially interested in medical education. An active member and Financial Officer of the Continuing Medical and Dental Education Commission of the Christian Medical and Dental Association, he assists in their mission to bring current medical information to those serving on the front-lines in developing countries. Seeking more ways to serve, he has taught resuscitation courses for trauma, pediatrics and advanced cardiac life support in the US and East Africa. When in the US, Steffes served as a volunteer associate clinical professor of surgery at Duke University in order to teach residents laparoscopic surgery; served as volunteer surgical faculty at Mulago Hospital, Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and also served as the Surgeon-in-Residence at Methodist University Physician Assistant Program teaching anatomy, physiology and general surgery to PA students from 1996 – 2014. He is presently also an associate professor in surgery at Loma Linda University and an adjunct anatomy instructor at the Campbell University School of Medicine. He also has been a guest lecturer yearly at the West Virginia University Clinical Tropical Medicine and Parasitology Training Course. In 2009, he was named as one of the Distinguished Global Faculty of The University of Toledo.
In his efforts to mobilize interest, personnel and finances for medical missions, he is a speaker in churches, service groups and missionary conferences here in the US. In aid of that effort, he and his wife have written the “Handbook for Short Term Medical Missionaries”, published by ABWE (2002). The book was revised, expanded and divided into two separate works: “Medical Missions: Get Ready, Get Set, Go!” (2009) and “Your Mission: Get Ready, Get Set, GO!” (2010)
In early 2006, he became the Chief Executive Officer of the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS), a general surgical training program for African residents. He became the Chief Medical Officer of PAACS in January 2015. PAACS is a rural-based health initiative and is a Commission of the Christian Medical and Dental Association. It is a strategic response to the great need for surgical manpower in Africa. Using rural mission hospitals and a cadre of volunteer board-certified surgeons and missionaries, it is designed to teach the best practices of surgery and apply them to the resource-poor environment in such a way that “brain drain” is avoided and that high quality Christian Surgeons will be produced and remain in their countries for their lifetimes. PAACS is presently accredited by Loma Linda University and has accepted and accredited by College of Surgery of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA). The first two years of training are presently recognized by the Western African College of Surgeons (WACS). . There are presently (Jan 2017) 76 residents and fellows in training in primary training sites in Gabon, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Niger, Tanzania, Malawi and Kenya with a planned new training site in Togo to open in 2019. It is experiencing a period of rapid expansion. PAACS expanded 4 – 8 fold under Steffes’ leadership He transitioned to the role of Chief Medical Officer in January of 2014 and retired from the position in December of 2016. He remains active as a volunteer in the organization as well in COSECSA and WACS and is a member of the Samaritan’s Purse World Medical Mission Disaster Assistance Relief Team (DART). He serves on the Examination and Credentials Committee of COSECSA (College of Surgery of East, Central and Southern Africa) and is helping to develop the expanded curriculum for MCS level residents.
Steffes is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the West African College of Surgeons, the College of Surgery of East, Central and Southern Africa and the International College of Surgeons. He has been recognized for his work with PAACS with the 2008 International Medicine Award (from the Institute for International Medicine) and induction to the Medical Missions Hall of Fame, located at the University of Toledo in Ohio. He has also been named the Educator of the Year (2015) by the Christian Medical and Dental Associations. He has been nominated repetitively for the American College of Surgery Humanitarian of the Year award.
Medical Missions Gathering Presentation – Medical Education as a Global Health Paradigm
The healthcare workforce in developing countries is a critical situation and is expected to worsen according to the WHO and Global Health Workforce Alliance (2015). In their report entitled “A Universal Truth: No health without a workforce”, they outline how there is a need for at least 7.2 million more healthcare workers in the developing world at present. This critical shortage of health workers in the developing world is expected to increase by more than 5 million over the next twenty years (Global Health Workforce Alliance , 2015). Without ongoing multidimensional support this critical shortage of health workers will likely increase to 12.9 million by 2035 (Global Health Workforce Alliance , 2015). This shortage of health workers has serious implications for the health of billions of people across all regions of the world. It also translates to millions of deaths each year from preventable causes, mostly in young mothers and children. Understanding this, there is little doubt that education of healthcare professionals needs to remain a top priority in our global health initiatives. This can range from the medical professional mentorship programs to formal residency programs (both mission hospital based and government programs). A sampling of programs will be reviewed and an open discussion of pros, cons and suggested methods of preparation and ways to engage in such programs will be discussed.
- The attendee will obtain a better understanding of the scope of possible methods of serving as a medical educator.
- The attendee will be able to construct a more holistic approach to their desired method of serving as a medical educator.
- The attendee will be able to discuss the issues confounding the development of a Christian training programs.
In the Afternoon breakout, Dr. Steffes will present with Dr. McKenney, together they will discuss WHO standards and guidelines for surgical safety in developing world hospitals.
The Conference was Organized and Facilitated by CRU and CHSC to educate, encourage and engage those who share our passion for medical missions.