Joni and Friends Christian Institute on Disability Online Course Receives Continuing Education Accreditation

Beyond Suffering Advanced Studies to be offered for spring semester


AGOURA HILLS, Calif., Dec. 17, 2014 – The Joni and Friends Christian Institute on Disability announced today that its online academic course “Beyond Suffering Advanced Studies: A Christian View on the Healthcare Humanities” has been approved by the Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA) to offer up to 92 continuing medical education units to physicians, physician assistants, nurses and other healthcare professionals for completing the course.

Course developer Dr. Kathy McReynolds, Director of Academic Studies for the Joni and Friends Christian Institute on Disability, was inspired by the great need she saw for better care for patients with disabilities in the practical setting.

“As a bioethicist who serves on several hospital ethics committees, I have been deeply concerned by the obstacles to good quality healthcare for those affected by disabilities,” she said. “I am convinced that those who take this course will become much more sensitive to the needs of all vulnerable people and that healthcare for sick, marginalized populations will be vastly improved.  The students will be enriched with a deeper understanding of the Church’s long history in caring for those with disabilities.”

Doug Mazza, President of Joni and Friends, applauds McReynolds’ efforts in developing the program. “Kathy has worked so diligently on this project, and it is an exceptional accomplishment for Joni and Friends, raising the credibility of our educational efforts to new heights,” he said.

“This is a significant step forward in deepening the understanding of those in the healthcare professions with a biblical and practical view of people with disabilities,” said Steve Bundy, the Vice President of the Christian Institute on Disability (CID). “So often people with disabilities are viewed through the lens of the medical model only and treated as such.  This course will help reestablish that all people are first and foremost created in the image of God.”

The course is described as being designed to reintroduce the ancient ideal of practical reasoning, self-knowledge and action in the care of the sick and the marginalized, with a special emphasis on people with disabilities.  It was modeled after the CID’s flagship curriculum “Beyond Suffering: A Christian View on Disability Ministry.” The goal is for students to gain a thoughtful perspective on the healthcare professional/patient relationship, the art of listening, visual observation, and ethical principles in the context of a Christian worldview.

The Joni and Friends Christian Institute on Disability hosts the online program as part of its efforts to increase the medical education credits available to professional healthcare workers, most of whom serve individuals with disabilities every day. Joni and Friends appreciates its growing relationship with the CMDA and looks forward to future opportunities to further encourage and equip its members in this field.

The CMDA approval for the course has been granted until February 2018. The spring course begins on February 2, 2015.  Students can enroll or find more information online at

For more than 35 years, Joni and Friends has worked to accelerate ministry to the disability community around the world, offering a wide array of life-affirming ministries, including the Christian Institute on Disability; the International Disability Center; international radio and television programs filled with inspirational stories; Wheels for the World, which every year gives thousands of individuals wheelchairs and the life-giving message of the Gospel; and Family Retreats, where families affected by disability learn they are not alone.

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Note to Editors: For more information or to arrange an interview with Joni and Friends representatives, please contact Melany Ethridge of A. Larry Ross Communications at 972.267.1111, or