Solving the Problem of Medical/Dental Missionary Debt 

Posted Nov 15, 2018

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CanMedSend (CMS) was launched under the umbrella of CMDA Canada in 2003. By 2009, it matured into a registered Canadian Christian Charitable Foundation which is governed by a Board of Directors and whose office is located in Toronto, Canada. Our website is www.

Traditionally, Mission Sending Agencies (MSAs) do not send out candidates with significant personal debt. Recent professional graduates often have considerable debt acquired from many years of student loans. Currently, the average student loan debt for young physicians is over $150,000 and for young dentists over $200,000. Consequently, student loans pose a substantial obstacle for recent graduates embarking on a vocation in missions.

As a Charitable Foundation, CMS’s mandate is to fund projects of charitable organizations (not people). Consequently, our primary constituency is MSAs who provide medical and dental services to needy people in their mission sites around the world.  Currently, CMS has partnership agreements with a half-dozen Canadian MSAs. (both denominational mission boards such as “Christian Missionary Alliance Canada” and faith missions such as the “Leprosy Mission” and “SIM”) CMS’s purpose is to facilitate the entry of recent professional graduates into the field of medical or dental missions. In a nutshell, CMS partners with Canadian mission sending agencies, releases young medical and dental professionals for mission service, and helps resource needy people who do not have access to healthcare services. 

CMS assists MSA partners who provide medical and dental services. A Mission Sending Agency can apply to CMS for support of projects that entail sending out recent medical or dental graduates who; a) are called to serve on the mission field and b) are eligible for our student loan repayment assistance for their educational debt.

CMS enables the release of full-time medical and dental professionals into the mission field by assuming the burden of their student loan payments. Accordingly, these young professionals are able to respond earlier to their calling, because their debt is no longer a barrier for the MSAs. 

Samaritan’s Purse Canada (SP) was the first MSA to apply for funding of a project in Haiti that entailed the sending out of a young physician to assist with the 2010 Earthquake and Cholera epidemic. Dr. Kara Gibson was a Canadian trained Anesthetist, who would function as the “Medical Coordinator for Samaritan’s Purse Relief work”.  She spoke the Creole language from previous experience working as a missionary in Haiti, prior to embarking on her medical school training. SP received funding that was used to cover Kara’s student loan payments during the 2 years she was with the project.  

There are numerous settings around the globe, other than Haiti, where needy people do not have adequate access to healthcare services. Many other developing countries still rely on Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) to address the short-comings of their Governmental health care system. A major proportion of these NGOs are Christian Charitable Organizations: the niche in which our Canadian MSAs are engaged.  

Subsequent to 2010 CanMedSend has supported medical & dental projects through partner Mission Sending Agencies in Angola, Nepal & Papua-New Guinea. CMS has also approved projects in Burundi, Africa. 

As members of CMDA Canada, you can help CMS with our purpose by promoting our existence within your network of contacts (e.g. mission sending agencies, individuals or foundations who have designated giving plans, church denominations, students training in medicine or dentistry). We are still not well known throughout the Christian community.

CMS requests that more health care professionals affiliated with CMDA Canada make donations as yearly charitable gifts to CMS through CanadaHelps (

Healthcare professionals with high net worth can bequest non-cash gifts (such as securities or insurance policies) from their estate through Link Charity Inc. ( Donations are eligible for a tax-deductible receipt.