July 7, 2014

System Health

Since the first Seventh-day Adventist sanitarium opened in Battle Creek, Michigan, in 1866, the church’s goal has been to prayerfully extend the healing ministry of Christ by reflecting His compassionate character while teaching people principles of healthful living. Modern medicine has since made many advances, but these principles have remained the same: choice, rest, environment, activity, trust in God, interpersonal relationships, outlook, and nutrition. CREATION Health is a modern embodiment of the church’s original health vision, used by the Adventist Health System to reach out, touch hearts, and heal lives— both locally and globally.

Meeting Needs Close to Home

One of the ways Adventist Health System, headquartered in Altamonte Springs, Florida, does this is by having each of its 45 member hospitals in the United States conduct a community health-needs assessment in its local area. Using the results, hospitals are then able to tailor their programs and services to have the greatest possible impact.55 1HELPING CHILDREN IN ETHIOPIA: Children at the Learning Village in Ethiopia learn how interpersonal relationships affect their health through an activity led by Robyn Edgerton, administrative director of Mission Development and CREATION Health at Florida Hospital in Orlando." class="img-right" style="float: right;">

For example, at Manchester Memorial Hospital in Kentucky, the community health-needs assessment revealed that nearly 7 percent of the state’s population suffers from diabetes, 60 percent of the residents in the local county fall below the poverty line, and another 22 percent had no insurance. These obstacles, combined with miles of dirt roads and lack of transportation, often prevent community members from receiving the care they needed. To remedy the problem, the hospital started a nonemergency transportation program, using a 15-passenger bus to take patients to and from medical appointments. Along the way, the patients learn about the principles of CREATION Health from the bus driver and a video.

Building Relationships Abroad

Adventist Health System’s facilities also participate in international ministry by offering employees opportunities to fund-raise, donate equipment, and participate in medical mission trips abroad. These trips take place in a variety of locations, but Florida Hospital has developed four sites in particular called “Footprints.” Ethiopia is one of those sites.

On the outskirts of Addis Ababa, 750 children attend school at the Learning Village. Here, Florida Hospital has helped to establish a medical clinic to provide primary-care services, family planning, and eye exams; staff members also teach the principles of CREATION Health to people in the community. Hospital employees travel to the site almost annually to perform special procedures and help establish services such as ultrasound and physical therapy.

“Building relationships and working with the same people over and over has allowed us to really effect change,” says Monty Jacobs, director of Florida Hospital’s Global Mission Initiatives. “We are able to do more because we’re focused on what’s going on there and what their greatest needs are. It also gives employees unique opportunities to participate in mission trips. People who go on trips come back reenergized. They’ve realized again why they chose medicine, and why they chose to work at Florida Hospital. And that’s because we extend the healing ministry of Christ even beyond the shores of Florida.”

Beyond Hospital Walls

The concept of whole-person care—a desire to meet people’s mental, physical, and spiritual needs—inspires every aspect of Adventist Health System’s operations, from the care it provides inside its hospitals to the millions of dollars it invests every year in providing free classes, community gardens, Vacation Bible Schools, complimentary health screenings, and much more. Like the church’s early medical pioneers, Adventist Health System has set a goal to become known as a demonstrable leader in wholistic care by using CREATION Health principles both inside and outside of hospitals—all for the purpose of extending the healing ministry of Christ.