October 23, 2020

Adventist Health Moves Decidedly Forward to Promote Community Well-being

On October 20, Adventist Health, the church-affiliated healthcare system in the western United States,  announced the launch of its Well-Being Division, solidifying its commitment to lead a twenty-first-century well-being transformation movement. With this far-reaching change, Adventist Health is further demonstrating its commitment to inspire health, wholeness, and hope within the communities it serves, health leaders of the organization said.

In keeping with its goals, Adventist Health acquired Blue Zones® in early 2020, marking the first step in the creation of its Well-Being Division, and appointed Ben Leedle, Blue Zones CEO, as division president. This month, the organizations began their first partnership with Blue Zones Project, a transformational community-led well-being initiative, in Walla Walla, Washington.

“Adventist Health’s launch of the Well-Being Division is an important part of our 10-year transformation strategy to move from a health-care company to a health company,” Adventist Health CEO Scott Reiner said. “Our mission to live God’s love calls us to care for communities in ways that measurably and sustainably improve well-being.”

This move marks Adventist Health’s commitment from delivering care to improving well-being and quality of life for entire communities, which in turn improves health outcomes for individuals. It comes at a critical time during the COVID-19 pandemic and is essential to help communities and individuals recover and build long-term resiliency.

The Well-Being Division will identify and impact the root causes of well-being. It will collectively address needs related to individuals, communities, and organizations, and will impact all dimensions of well-being. These will include health, a sense of purpose, security, and prosperity to deliver results through direct interventions and by fostering change to human-made surroundings. This model is designed to improve the health of individuals and communities, and in turn, lower overall health-care costs.

“I was drawn to Adventist Health’s bold vision to reimagine the future of health care, and I am thrilled to be a part of Adventist Health,” Leedle said. “I look forward to championing this vision and working together to further strengthen communities and empower individuals to lead healthier lives. Never before in our lifetimes has there been a greater focus on the behaviors that keep us well. Our faith-based company is poised to elevate this conversation and lead our industry.”

Adventist Health’s strategic vision to improve individual, organizational, and community well-being is rooted in the Seventh-day Adventist cultural heritage. Since its inception in the 1840s, the Adventist movement has encouraged a lifestyle of health and wellness. Additionally, Adventist Health recently acquired Blue Zones®, whose proven, research-based solution improves community well-being by design. The Blue Zones model lifts well-being at the population level by making healthy choices easier in all places where people live, work, learn, pray, and play. Working with Blue Zones, the Well-Being Division will empower everyone, everywhere to live longer, better lives.

The work of Blue Zones in more than 50 communities across the United States has been credited with double-digit drops in well-being risk factors such as obesity and smoking, transforming lives, and achieving millions of dollars of savings in health-care costs.

About Blue Zones®

Blue Zones uses evidence-based ways to help people live longer, better lives. The company’s work is based on explorations and research done by founder and National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner, who identified the blue zones regions around the world where people live extraordinarily long and happy lives. The original research and findings were released in Buettner's bestselling books The Blue Zones Solution, The Blue Zones of Happiness, The Blue Zones, Thrive, and Blue Zones Kitchen—all published by National Geographic books. Using original Blue Zones research, Blue Zones Project® works with cities and counties to make healthy choices easier through permanent and semi-permanent changes to the community’s environment, policy, and social networks. Participating communities have experienced double-digit drops in obesity and tobacco use and have saved millions of dollars in health-care costs. Adventist Health acquired Blue Zones in 2020.

The original version of this story was posted on the Adventist Health site.

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