July 2, 2010

From Sick Care to Health Care

From Sick Care to Health Care

Adventist HealthCare launches whole-person initiative.

By Sandra Blackmer, features editorHealth care tops headlines this year as the Obama administration fights to make it more affordable and accessible to U.S. residents, but it’s also a hot-button issue within the Adventist Church. Believing that a proactive approach is vital not only to maintaining but strengthening the quality of health care, Washington Adventist Hospital (WAH) and its parent organization Adventist HealthCare are collaborating on what they term “a groundbreaking initiative” in the field. The goal is to effect a paradigm shift in the way people view health care.

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ADVENTIST HEALTHCARE BOOTH: Health professionals run a health profile for a session attendee. [Austin R. Ho/Adventist Review]

“The Seventh-day Adventist Church and Adventist HealthCare—specifically in the Washington, D.C., region—are in a unique position to help shift the conversation and the approach to health care in the U.S. to a more whole-person way of seeing it,” says Adventist HealthCare president and CEO William G. “Bill” Robertson. “We hope to build on this amazing foundation of health ministry and proactive approach to health and wellness that we have in the Adventist Church to broadly engage our communities here in the United States and to help make the transition from a sick-care system to a whole-person health-care system.”

This tactic, Robertson says, stresses community: “What do they need? How do we get them to move from a product-disease management perspective and from a health-care delivery perspective to a higher level of health status? These are the questions we have to address,” he says.

Because of the broad range of ethnic diversity in the D.C. area, WAH president Jere Stocks sees the location of this Adventist medical institution in Takoma Park, Maryland, as a definite plus.

“It gives us extra ability to truly impact health, not just with a particular culture or group but rather with a very wide range of individuals,” he says. “This initiative also creates an opportunity to play on the broader stage on what is in the best interests of the health of the nation—and not just for the educated, the wealthy, and the employed.”

David K. Babcock, principal of AMBIO Group, a health-care consultancy, notes that dialogue and communication with communities outside the church are integral to the initiative. “That integration is going to bring a significant platform to the Adventist health message,” he says.

To engage thought leaders and communities in this shift in health-care perspectives, the GC Health Ministries Department is hosting a lunchtime health seminar on Friday, July 2, from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. in room B-312 in the Georgia World Congress Center for Executive Committee members, delegates-at-large, and Health Ministries and Secretariat department personnel. About 400 people are expected to attend.

To learn more, call Jere Stocks at 301-891-5651.