The Dominican Republic’s bustling capital of Santo Domingo is the most populous metropolitan area in the Caribbean, with nearly three million inhabitants. It is the industrial, commercial, and financial center of the country and has numerous parks and recreational spaces, including the National Botanical Garden. Across the botanical garden, on the other side of a heavily transited four-lane road, is Centro Médico Vista del Jardín, or Vista del Jardín Medical Center, the most recent Seventh-day Adventist hospital to partner with AdventHealth, a Seventh-day Adventist health care system headquartered in Altamonte Springs, Florida, United States.
“Centro Médico Vista del Jardín is located close to the heart of Santo Domingo, where you have population density, an economy that is doing well, and insured residents who are wanting a high standard of care,” said Monty Jacobs, director of global missions for AdventHealth.
Jacobs traveled to the 53-bed facility with AdventHealth Palm Coast President/CEO Ron Jimenez and AdventHealth New Smyrna Beach President/CEO Dennis Hernandez in August to meet with hospital and church leaders and officially sign the cooperation agreement between the two entities. The agreement formalizes Centro Médico Vista del Jardín’s status as one of ten footprints in AdventHealth’s Global Mission Impact (GMI) program, which creates long-term relationships for sharing resources and expertise.
“Many Adventist hospitals around the world are very siloed,” Jacobs said. “They operate in a vacuum with questions about which decisions to make. So, having a relationship with AdventHealth gives them a sounding board to ask those questions. It gives them better comfort that they are heading in the right direction.”
The relationship between AdventHealth, which operates 50 hospitals in nine U.S. states, and Centro Médico Vista del Jardín, started several years ago with team members from various AdventHealth facilities organizing medical mission trips to the Dominican Republic. Over time, representatives from the two organizations saw the opportunity for a strategic partnership and met to discuss the GMI program.
Vista del Jardín Medical Center was established in 2007 and is one of 15 hospitals and lifestyle centers that are part of Adventist Healthcare Services (AHS-IA) throughout the Inter-American Division.
AdventHealth made an initial donation of incubators, infant warmers, and supplies. Soon after, Jimenez was named executive sponsor for the footprint.
“The leadership I’ve had the opportunity to work within Vista del Jardín have servant leaders’ hearts and compassionate attitudes,” Jimenez said. “The people are very gracious and kind. It’s been a real joy to interact with them.”
Hernandez said he agrees.
“The leaders and caregivers at Centro Médico Vista del Jardín have a spirit of collaboration and dedication and a desire to provide the highest quality care,” he said. “They are in this for the right reason and certainly want to do the right thing. It’s a very caring and compassionate group.”
Vista del Jardín Medical Center has a thriving outpatient clinic and is working toward the opening of a new pediatric wing with a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), for which AdventHealth donated the incubators and infant warmers. AdventHealth also plans to donate a computed tomography (CT) scanner to the hospital.
But beyond the donation of equipment and supplies, AdventHealth leaders are looking to support Centro Médico Vista del Jardín in its goals of establishing a five-year plan and identifying fundraising opportunities as it continues to navigate the challenges and opportunities that come with delivering care in an urban area.
“We are sure that this cooperation agreement will allow us to have the necessary professional and technical advice to improve the productive areas of the medical center and develop others that will allow us to achieve the levels of financial stability that we so long for,” said Winston Hiciano, director for Centro Médico Vista del Jardín and treasurer for the Dominican Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. “The Dominican Union and Vista del Jardín are pleased to have a prestigious institution like AdventHealth giving us great support.”
For 2020, AdventHealth Global Mission Impact is planning a volunteer mission trip to provide primary care services in the Dominican Republic.