Record Rewind: Your radio doctor

Clifford Anderson.

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Born in Melbourne, Australia, on October 25, 1905, Clifford Anderson, a twin, was reared in a home of culture and academic excellence. In early adulthood he did some canvassing in New Zealand, was a stenographer from 1921–1923 and assistant editor of the Australasian Record before studying ministry at Avondale College.

In 1924, Clifford joined his brother, Roy, in evangelistic work in New Zealand. On his return to Australia, he worked for Sanitarium Health Food Company. He was soon appointed to evangelistic work, once again with his brother, in Queensland. There he met and later married Lela Fowles.

Clifford and Lela, from 1930, were involved in a major evangelistic outreach in London, England, where he also edited a small weekly paper and during that time was ordained to the gospel ministry. A son, Ian, was born during their time in England.

From 1937 he studied medicine at the College of Medical Evangelists in Loma Linda, California, and during his final year was the first editor of the medical school annual.

In 1942 he went into practice in Washington DC and during those years a daughter, Bette June, was born. In 1944 the family moved to Jamaica for five years, where Clifford was responsible for the development and building of the Andrews Memorial Hospital in Kingston and served as the medical secretary of the Inter-American Division.

The family returned to the US, to Worthington, Ohio, where Clifford undertook graduate study. During this time he began his well-known series of “Your Radio Doctor” broadcasts. These programs were soon in great demand internationally; used by the Burmese government and endorsed by the World Health Organisation.

Consequently Clifford became the family doctor to millions around the world. In 1957 he and his family moved to California, took a residency in internal medicine and established a specialty practice in Glendale. There his wife, Lela, died.

As well as his broadcasts, Clifford was a prolific writer. His ability to explain complex scientific health issues in language readers, and listeners, with a non-medical background could easily understand was a special gift. Many of his articles for popular journals such as Signs of the Times were translated and re-published in many languages. His 16 lesson correspondence course Radiant Health was used in the US, Australia and England. From 1962 his 900-page book Modern Ways to Health was published in the US and internationally.

In 1968 Clifford married Dr Dulcie Blunden and in the last years of his life took a special interest in epidemiology and health education. He died on June 2, 1967, after a nine-month struggle with a brain tumour.

General Conference president Robert Pierson wrote, “Few men have made the contribution to this cause that Cliff has made by his preaching, his writing, his medical practice and his daily witness for the Saviour. It is a real loss to the cause of God, as well as a personal loss to some of us who have known him intimately through the years.”


Lester Devine is director emeritus of the Ellen G White/Adventist Research Centre.

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