Drs. Eric and Jericho (Peden) Bell (’02): University of Mississippi Medical Center faculty
August 27, 2011
Drs. Eric (’02) and Jericho (Peden ’02) Bell joined the faculty of the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson, Mississippi, immediately following their residency completion in 2010. Though most medical students pursue private practice after completing their residency training, the Bells took advantage of an opportunity to enter directly into the field of academic medicine, focusing primarily on supervising residency students in clinical work.
As assistant professor of emergency medicine at UMMC, Eric spends much of his time teaching medical students and residents in both lecture and clinical settings. In addition to his time teaching, he also works shifts in the Emergency Department at UMMC.
With his career well under way, Eric hopes to expand his practice to include international and medical missions with the hope of forming these outreach programs at UMMC. He has felt God’s call to medical missions since his high school years and knows that God is guiding his steps toward fulfilling that desire.
“When you’re walking in the calling God has for you, He will absolutely provide each step of the way,” Eric says. “Even in those moments when it feels like there’s no possible way you’ll succeed, He can make a way.”
Jericho, assistant professor of internal medicine and instructor of pediatrics at UMMC, is passionately filling her new role in the field of educational medicine. She works primarily in supervising and teaching medical students and residents in a federally qualified health center (FQHC). This clinic focuses on providing medical care to the underserved and, as a residency clinic, is the first of its kind. “I am thankful for the unique opportunity to be part of something like this at its beginning, especially at my own career’s beginning,” Jericho says.
Though she had never previously considered teaching, Jericho realized during her time in medical school and residency that teaching in the clinical setting was becoming one of her favorite aspects of medicine. “Empowering students and residents to be good doctors touches more lives than I could ever touch with my own two hands,” Jericho says.
In addition to her career as a professor, Jericho also has a strong passion for medical missions. From the time she was very young, becoming a doctor was her dream. Meeting a missionary to the Amazon when she was 7 solidified her desire to become a “missionary doctor.” She then drew up the plans for “the Amazon hospital” that she one day hoped to build. These plans hang in her office today. When she became of age, Jericho began serving on Assemblies of God AIM (Ambassadors in Missions) trips and chose to attend Evangel so she could study pre-med while taking Bible and missions courses.
As undergraduates at Evangel University, both majoring in Biology, Eric and Jericho shared with one another their individual desires to pursue medical missions, and their romance was sparked. From the beginning of their relationship to the present, they have possessed a joint, foundational love for medical missions. They were married the spring following their Evangel graduation.
During their last year of medical school Eric and Jericho received a scholarship from MAP (Medical Assistance Programs) International, a global Christian health organization that partners with people living in poverty, allowing them to spend two months in Honduras in a mission hospital. Three years later, Jericho spent 10 days holding medical clinics along the Amazon. “It was truly a dream come true,” Jericho says.
The Bells know that God has placed them in their current positions for His purpose. They have come to find out that global health is one of the hottest topics in academic medicine, so they look forward to promoting this topic in their areas of influence while utilizing their passions to serve overseas.
Both Eric and Jericho appreciate their Evangel experience. Jericho greatly values her professors’ caring and thoroughness in the classroom as well as their availability outside the classroom. “They emphasized thinking critically and understanding, not just memorizing,” Jericho says. “This served me well throughout my medical training.”
Eric notes the quality of the pre-med program at Evangel. “At no point in my medical training did I feel ‘behind’ compared to fellow students from secular schools,” he says.
In their free time, Eric and Jericho love to travel and have visited almost all 50 states. Between the two of them, they have also traveled to Ecuador, Mexico, Bangladesh, Honduras, Peru and Guatemala on service trips.
On their next trip in August of 2011, the couple will be traveling to Rwanda where they will serve with a group of emergency medicine physicians to collaborate with local physicians in building their own emergency medicine program.
“Being able to help people in their most vulnerable moments is such an honor and ministry,” Jericho says. “If God has called you to this, He will give you the strength and endurance to be more than a conqueror.”