Social work student talking with a client.

New Association for Christian Human Services and Healthcare Workers

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by Nicole Hackett, Student Public Relations Writer

Michael SherrChristian health and human service providers don’t have many quality platforms to network and support one another, but one Cedarville University professor is solving that problem with the start of the Association of Christians in Health and Human Services (ACHHS).

Dr. Michael Sherr, chair of the department of social work, developed the concept for ACHHS in 2019, and the nonprofit organization officially began this spring. The organization’s goal is to help Christian nurses, doctors, counselors, social workers, and other professionals in health care and human services connect with each other and to provide biblical guidance on current issues.

“Our vision is to enhance ethical and quality services in healthcare and human services by supporting Christian professionals who are committed to biblical integration and ethical practice,” Sherr said.

— Michael Sherr

ACHHS seeks to provide Christian fellowship for members while encouraging and supporting members to ethically integrate their faith values with professional work. The association will offer closed membership social media groups, biblical devotions and faith based professional resources. Sherr said that ACHHS seeks to help guide and support how members respond to difficult topics.

In planning the association, Sherr worked with health care and human services faculty from Christian universities across the United States. Together, they created a 20-year vision to guide the organization.

“If we do our job well with this association, we can make sure Christians who are working with the hurt and the lost know that they are not alone,” Sherr said. “There are others out there who deeply care and also believe God’s word is authoritative and sufficient.”

Kim ParkerKim Parker, ACHHS executive director and a licensed clinical social worker in Spring, Texas, near Houston, met Sherr a few years ago. It was clear they both felt the same calling. Now, Parker is working alongside Sherr and others to build ACHHS for Christians in the United States and globally. She is thankful that God has called many others to work out the same mission.

“We are set apart from many other Christian organizations in our desire and commitment to stay true to the inerrant word of God, to recognize its authority in our lives and to support Christians who also struggle with how to ethically integrate our biblical faith in a world that is increasingly hostile to the word of God,” Parker said.

Others serving in leadership in the organization include:

● Marty Eng, president, professor of pharmacy practice at Cedarville

● David King, president-elect, assistant professor of social work at Indiana Wesleyan University

● Christson Adedoyin, treasurer, professor of social work at Samford University

● James Phelan, secretary, adjunct professor of social work at Liberty University

The ACHHS could also become a model for similar organizations in other fields, Sherr said. Whether it be business or theater, there is a need for more interdisciplinary Christian organizations in every industry. Although the association has begun in Cedarville, its goal is more than local or even regional — it’s global.

“This is our commitment to the kingdom, beyond Cedarville,” Sherr said. “It’s really for professional Christians on the frontlines.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,380 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including its Bachelor of Science in Social Work, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu.