Seventh-Day Adventist Hospitals

Are they really making a positive difference?

Peter N. Landless
Seventh-Day Adventist Hospitals

I’m in my final year of medicine and wrestling with where I should work when qualified. I’d love to go to one of our Adventist hospitals, but I hear negative comments about facilities and even their commitment to mission. Are our hospitals around the world making a positive impact? 

The short answer is yes, our hospitals around the world are making a very positive difference in the lives of many millions of patients every year. 

I personally experienced similar misgivings as my own graduation approached. Since then I’ve had the privilege of working with and for the Adventist Church’s health work throughout my entire career, and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat! 

I shudder when I receive harshly critical and even vitriolic letters regarding some of our hospitals around the world, but at the same time I’m comforted by the many, many more messages of appreciation for the excellent work being done in those very hospitals and many others! 

On Christmas Day in 1865 the Lord gave Ellen White the vision embracing the social and mission aspects of health ministry and the philosophy for operating health-care entities. Institutions should practice “whole person” care, addressing physical, spiritual, and moral needs. Shortly after the 1866 GC Session, she urged that Seventh-day Adventists have an institution of their own. This started the health-care initiative that now has a footprint over much of the globe. Despite humble beginnings, and by God’s grace, Seventh-day Adventists are presently the largest Protestant faith-based health-care provider in the world. 

It troubles me, however, that we struggle to recruit and retain Adventist health professionals to work in our hospitals, clinics, and medical and nursing schools. As an organization, we need to intentionally review remuneration policies and prioritize the strengthening of governance, operation, and maintenance to sustain these initiatives. Additionally, I appeal to young health-care professionals like you to prayerfully consider joining and enriching our dedicated and excellent team of workers with your talents and energy. I can testify that it’s a wonderfully fulfilling experience.

As a church, we’ve been blessed with a privileged revelation of how to live life to the full. It’s a sacred duty for us to care for our own and our patients’ body temples, and to spend and be spent in service to a broken world crying out for a grace-filled revelation of Jesus Christ through His followers and the precious truths entrusted to them. Comprehensive health ministry, including health care, is integral to this mission. 

“We have come to a time when every member of the church should take hold of medical missionary work.”* This includes health professionals of all disciplines as well as health-care administrators. We are called to graciously share, care, preach, teach, heal, and disciple. 

Worried that the system is not optimal? Get involved and make a difference. A key way to be an agent of change is to work from the inside. 

Be a part of the solution—serving as and how Jesus may call you! 

* Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 7, p. 62.

Peter N. Landless