American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

2016 Surgical Humanitarianism Award: Rebekah A. Naylor

Dr. Naylor (center) in the OR with her Indian colleagues

Dr. Naylor (center) in the OR with her Indian colleagues

Rebekah A. Naylor, MD, FACS, a general surgeon from Fort Worth, TX, received the 2016 Surgical Humanitarian Award for her work in significantly improving and expanding the Bangalore Baptist Hospital (BBH), Karnataka, India, during her 35 years as a medical missionary.

After completing her surgical training at Southwestern Medical Center and Parkland Hospital, Dallas, TX—the first woman resident in general surgery at both institutions—in 1973, she was appointed by the Foreign (now International) Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention as a missionary to India. She arrived at BBH in early 1974, where she began a missionary career that included a busy practice schedule, administrative responsibilities, and teaching.

Dr. Naylor in front of the name plaque of the Rebekah Ann Naylor School of Nursing

Dr. Naylor began her work as a clinical surgeon at BBH, and in subsequent years became chief of the medical staff, an administrator, and, eventually, the medical superintendent. In her time at BBH, she greatly expanded patient care services, including the growth of the hospital from 80 beds to 160 beds. Today, BBH provides care to approximately 250,000 patients in the hospital and clinics and delivers more than 2,500 babies every year.

In the 1990s, Dr. Naylor organized training programs in four allied health disciplines, set up accredited residency training programs for physicians, and established the Rebekah Ann Naylor School of Nursing. More than 350 nurses have graduated from the school, many of whom are from low-income backgrounds, and 129 of whom are now employed at BBH. Dr. Naylor was engaged in formal teaching roles in all of the aforementioned programs.

In addition to improving the quality and availability of patient care at BBH, from 1999 to 2009 Dr. Naylor was involved in church development in the state of Karnataka. Working with the medical ministry and Indian pastors, she was able to help establish 900 churches in the state of 53 million people.

After returning to the U.S. in 2002, Dr. Naylor joined the faculty of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, where she served as clinical associate professor of surgery until her retirement in 2010. As global health care consultant for Baptist Global Response, she now mobilizes and trains health care personnel to meet medical needs worldwide. She continues to make frequent trips to India to participate in the ministry of BBH. Applying lessons learned overseas, she led the founding of Mercy Clinic in 2011, a free clinic for the underserved, uninsured population in south Fort Worth. She continues to serve this organization as board chair.