he Loma Linda University School of Medicine fills a very important role in the life of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It shapes the understanding and professional practice of its students to recognize the wholeness of life, to treat patients and not just their diseases. They learn to be sensitive to a patient’s spiritual as well as physical condition. Medical training today recognizes the interrelatedness of physical, spiritual, and moral dimensions of life but does not generally equip health-care practitioners with the ability to work comfortably with a patient in the area of spirituality. The Adventist Church is deeply grateful to the faculty of the School of Medicine for modeling and training others to practice whole-person care with consummate skill. This reflects the healing ministry of Jesus.
A second and perhaps equally important contribution from the School of Medicine is the way in which it enlarges and enhances a vision for service. As part of the global Seventh-day Adventist Church organization, Loma Linda University maintains connections with other church-operated educational and health-care institutions around the world. Students at Loma Linda University are encouraged to participate in international and cross-cultural service opportunities. Trips abroad are undertaken in order to experience firsthand the challenges of health-care ministry in other parts of the world. Various clubs on campus regularly select mission hospitals abroad as their project for the year. The School of Medicine gives its students a vision of how their skills and training can be used in service in any environment anywhere in the world.
The mission of the church is advanced in many ways by LLUSM graduates who practice their profession out of a vision for whole-person care and who volunteer their time to serve as leaders in local congregations or as board members of various denominational organizations.
Lowell C. Cooper is a general vice president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and is chair of the Loma Linda University board of trustees. This article was published April 22, 2010.