Dr. Helms grew up in Chattanooga, Tenn. He was an Echols Scholar at the University of Virginia, where he earned his B.A. degree. He earned his M.D. with honors at the University of Tennessee in Memphis and completed his pediatric residency at Memphis’ LeBonheur Children’s Medical Center in 1983. After completing one year of pediatric pulmonary fellowship at Case Western Reserve University, Dr. Helms and his family became overseas missionaries with the Presbyterian Church in America and spent eight years overseeing the church’s health service in northeast Democratic Republic of Congo. Dr. Helms and his wife, Marilyn, have four grown children and two grandchildren and have made Raleigh their home since 1996. They enjoy reading, family and church activities. They are members of Redeemer Presbyterian Church where Dr. Helms serves on the Board of Elders and the Missions Committee.