The Drs. Henderson met and married in medical school before graduating together in 1979. They completed their residencies at Loma Linda University, Karen in pediatrics and Richard in orthopedic surgery. They were subsequently recruited to Siskiyou County, a severely medically underserved region in Northern California.
Medical resources were scarce when they arrived at their “stateside mission field.” Karen was the only pediatrician in the county and as such assumed a 24/7 pediatric call. For 21 years she pioneered pediatric care throughout the underserved region, educating the hospital staff and saving the lives of hundreds of children. She also made the first diagnosis of pediatric HIV in the county.
Richard served as chief of staff and was the lead physician responsible for raising funds to construct Fairchild Medical Center to replace the antiquated hospital. A milestone for the community, the new hospital allowed him to elevate the level of musculoskeletal care available in the region. He also helped fund a community medical clinic to serve the large population of patients on state-funded MediCal insurance. He also served as an adjunct faculty member for UC Davis School of Medicine.
In 2006, they reestablished their practices in Walla Walla, Washington. Since then, they have collectively participated in and led nine short-term medical mission trips to the Pacific Islands in partnership with Canvasback Missions.
They live in College Place, Washington, and have two children, Matthew L. Henderson ’12 and Kristen. They are proud grandparents of three grandchildren.