Graduate Student Researches Traditional Medicine for Kenyans

Heather Hall

Hall formed lasting relationships during Kenya and plans to return as a career medical missionary.

by Kat Meakem, Public Relations Writer

March 21, 2014

With the dream of becoming a medical missionary, Heather Hall spent a total of 14 months in Kenya discovering her passion for serving as a nurse cross-culturally. Her goal after graduating from Cedarville University’s Master of Science in Nursing program in August 2015 is to return to Kenya and provide medical support for the Maasai Tribe. 

Hall is currently conducting a research project about traditional medicine (TM) in Kenya. Her project is titled, "Attitudes of Western, conventionally trained physicians toward the traditional medicine of Kenya: A descriptive study." 

Hall hopes the project will bring to light the opinions of many conventional doctors about the use of TM in Kenya. She shares that being willing to take the time to explore doctors' feelings and hesitations toward TM is the first step in gaining the ability to advocate for its integration in Kenya’s health care. 

“Understanding physician attitudes toward TM helps open the lines of communication between the worlds of conventional and traditional medicine, creating a better opportunity for them to work together and ultimately provide more care,” said Hall.

Because many Kenyans live in rural and impoverished areas, TM is often their only option. Hall’s foundational goal in her efforts is to discover ways to provide more Kenyans with medical care.

Hall’s passion for public health in Kenya began during her first trip there in 2007. During the trip, she spent two months working at a Kenyan hospital learning about nursing in a cross-cultural setting. Since high school, Hall has wanted to be a medical missionary, and after this trip, Kenya became her desired long-term mission location.

Returning to Kenya in 2010, Hall spent one year there with World Gospel Mission as a volunteer nurse. Hall served at Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, Kenya. She helped with several programs and workshops about sanitation in the community. Hall also attended a weeklong Natural Medicine Seminar in Nairobi. 

According to Hall, this second trip helped her discover one of the ways she wants to use public health in the future as a long-term medical missionary. “I want to educate people on how to grow and use sustainable plants as a form of first-aid type natural medicine—especially people who otherwise have no access to medical care or cannot afford it,” shared Hall. 

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University attracts 3,400 undergraduate, graduate and online students to more than 100 areas of study. Inspiring greatness for over 125 years, Cedarville is a Christ-centered learning community recognized nationally for rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. Visit the University online at www.cedarville.edu.