Inspiring presentations, informative workshops, and the opening of a lifestyle medicine center were all part of the fourth ELIA Wellness Summit held March 24-26 at Sydney Adventist Hospital’s Clinical Education Centre in Australia.
The new ELIA Lifestyle Medicine Centre is aimed at tackling chronic diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Adventist Health Ministries director Peter Landless offered a dedicatory prayer for the new center before he and Berowra Member of Parliament Julian Leeser unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion. The plaque acknowledges the late Warwick Bland for his generous donation to establish the center.
“I’m delighted to be here today as a supporter of the hospital,” Leeser said as he shared positive sentiments about the San, including that his two young children were born at the hospital. “I can only issue lots of encouragement and success with the work that you are doing with ELIA.”
ELIA Lifestyle Medicine Centre medical director Andrea Matthews said patients will have access to lifestyle medicine physicians, dieticians, exercise physiologists, registered nurses, health coaches, and practitioners of psychology care.
“Establishing the center at the hospital complements the excellent acute-care facility in combating chronic disease,” Matthews said. “We work in close partnership with the patient’s GPs and specialists, and provide additional expert resources, programs, and support to address chronic disease and promote wellness.”
Adventist HealthCare CEO Brett Goods said the center will provide patients with the tools they need to take control of their health. “This is about empowering patients, placing them at the center of care, encouraging people to take an active interest in how they can improve their health outcomes, their life journey,” he said.
The ELIA Wellness Summit featured a comprehensive program of presentations, workshops, and panel discussions. Attendees came from Fiji, Cook Islands, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, and various parts of Australia. The theme was “Empowering You to Whole-person Health.”
“It was awesome to have our fourth ELIA Wellness Summit in person so we could learn and be challenged by excellent presentations from top speakers,” Geraldine Przybylko, executive director of ELIA Wellness and South Pacific Division (SPD) health strategy leader, said. “Also, to network with passionate health professionals and advocates and hear stories of how the ELIA Wellness Partners, 10,000 Toes Ambassadors, and wellness hubs are making a real difference right across Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific,” she said.
According to Przybylko, the goal is to have 400 wellness hubs by 2025, transforming lives through whole-person health.
At the conclusion of the summit, SPD president Glenn Townend challenged attendees to use what they have learned to make a difference in their own life and in the life of their communities.
“[Lifestyle medicine] is huge in the United States and other parts of the world, and it is coming to Australia, and we want to be at the forefront of it,” Townend said.
Landless said he was inspired by the summit. “It was really good, cutting-edge information that was shared. It was an outstanding conference.”