A Passion for International Health
She currently oversees the cadaver lab internship on campus, teaches courses in anatomy and physiology and perspectives in international health, and was instrumental in creating the international health major at Bethel, which launched in 2014. DeBolt has also joined nursing faculty in an annual student trip to the Global Missions Health Conference in Kentucky since 2011.
“It was at the Global Missions Health Conference that I became aware of the need and opportunity for a bachelor’s degree in international health,” DeBolt says. “This past November, about 16 students representing nursing, premedicine, kinesiology and international health attended the conference.”
She advocated for an international health major, because she saw how it directly fit Bethel’s mission and vision. She also recognized its value as both a recruitment and retention tool for students called to serve the nations. Now, the program has been expanded through a collaboration with Indiana Wesleyan University, and students can earn a B.S. in International Health and Master’s in Public Health in just five years.
“Helping Bethel accomplish her mission to train and equip effective Christian servant-leaders is a deep joy for me. I long to see each student find the niche they were created to fill and, in turn, be fulfilled,” DeBolt says.
She is deeply invested in her students — whether it be taking them to conferences or on international task force trips (like one to Indonesia in 2016), or sharing from her personal experience in the classroom. She has also expanded the cadaver-based internship so that more students can benefit from this valuable learning tool.
“[We] give a unique and comprehensive experience to the nursing and kinesiology students in addition to preparing the pre-medical students to succeed as they are accepted to medical school,” DeBolt says. “The cadaver internship gives us the opportunity to work quietly side by side. In the quiet, meaningful spiritual discussions happen.”
She describes her own journey to Bethel as a “lovingly directed long-cut.” In the midst of her father’s illness with Multiple Sclerosis, God called and equipped her for medical missions. After her father’s death and her mother’s marriage to Dr. Richard Carpenter, DeBolt was introduced to Bethel. Because there was no nursing program at the time, she chose Elementary Education as her major. However, God confirmed her calling into medicine when the U.S. Public Health Service offered her a full scholarship to medical school.
She graduated from Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine and worked as Chief Medical Officer in the Indian Health Service for the Winnebago, Omaha, and Lower Brule Sioux reservations. DeBolt, her husband Keith, and their four children, completed missions training at Children’s Ministries Institute and spent three years as regional directors for Child Evangelism Fellowship in Michigan. Together they founded a non-profit ministry of Community Kids College, which is still active in three Michigan communities.
Throughout her career, one constant has remained: a desire to passionately pursue God’s will for her life, and to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Task Force Indonesia
In May 2016, Vicki DeBolt, D.O., along with Director of Career Development and Global Engagement Matthew Stackowicz, took seven students on a task force trip to Indonesia through World Partners and Yayasan Pondok Kasih (YPK), which means House of Love. The team visited 42 of the 160+ Muslim communities that YPK serves to show the love of Jesus.
There, they painted water towers, planted urban gardens, distributed food to homeless communities, attended an international peace conference at the university, staffed the mobile library, assisted in the medical and dental clinics, played games at the orphanage, and visited the elderly home.
DeBolt returned to Surabaya, Indonesia, in 2017 to experience living with the people there, and is making preparations to return to live and teach in a Muslim boarding school on the island of Madura this summer. One Bethel student is planning to go with her.
Anyone interested in learning more about the B.S. in International Health or visiting Indonesia with Dr. DeBolt can contact her at Vicki.DeBolt@BethelCollege.edu.