The doctors are on call, and not only today, but also 24/7 since their retirement from full-time medical practice. Under the leadership of Dr. Donald B. Doty and his wife, Cheryl, these physicians make up a Salt Lake City-based team of 40 volunteer physicians and mental health professionals who work as medical advisers to the ever-increasing numbers of missionaries serving in the 405 worldwide missions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Numerous LDS physicians donate full-time service to respond to the health needs of currently serving missionaries, but additional physicians, both retired and still employed, donate time to reviewing missionary applications and screening medical issues.
Doty, a distinguished thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon, serves as chair of the Missionary Department Health Services, a task that requires the doctor to be available to his support staff whenever the health of a full-time serving missionary is in question.
Full-time male missionaries are now eligible to serve at age 18, while young women may choose to serve a mission at age 19. That change in age, initiated in October 2012, increased the missionary force from 58,500 to more than 74,000 presently, and it is projected to rise to more than 85,000 by the end of 2013. Senior missionaries, most following retirement, also serve on a full-time basis.