Wellness Summit Inspires and Equips South Pacific Adventist Advocates

Event highlights the potential of lifestyle medicine for community impact.

Tracey Bridcutt, Adventist Record
Wellness Summit Inspires and Equips South Pacific Adventist Advocates
Christiana Leimena-Lehn of the Greater Sydney Conference presenting on mitochondria and heart health. [Photo: Adventist Record]

The 2024 Empowering Lifestyle Innovation & Advocates (ELIA) Wellness Summit, held May 24-26 on the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia, shone a spotlight on the future of health, featuring the latest insights into lifestyle medicine and compelling community impact stories.

The summit brought together 175 Seventh-day Adventist health leaders and enthusiasts from Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Fiji and featured a top line-up of presenters. They delved into topics such as the gut microbiome, cancer and nutrition, pain management, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in health, and the power of lifestyle changes for tackling type 2 diabetes and autoimmune diseases. The summit offered opportunities for networking, and speakers shared inspirational stories from wellness hubs at Papakura (New Zealand) and Wahroonga (Sydney, Australia), and the Manna Haven eatery in Byron Bay (New South Wales, Australia).

“It warmed my heart to hear the powerful stories from the ELIA partners who are using the ELIA toolkit to meet the needs of the community and build relationships with them so they can live their best life now and for eternity,” said Geraldine Przybylko, executive director of ELIA Wellness and South Pacific Division Adventist Health strategy leader.

The Gold Coast was chosen for this year’s summit due to ELIA’s strategic partnership with the South Queensland Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which is working toward setting up 50 ELIA Wellness hubs by 2025. The need for such initiatives is evident. “Nine out of 10 people in Australia and New Zealand are dying from chronic disease such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer, and one in five Australians have a mental health disorder,” Przybylko said. “This drives our dream to see every church and school become an ELIA Wellness hub, and every clinic to become a wellness clinic, so we can bring health, healing, and hope to the community like never before. Imagine becoming known as the place to go in your community for improving wellness.”

Participants said they left the summit feeling inspired and motivated. Pacific Adventist University vice-chancellor Lohi Matainaho said, “Thanks for the great summit! Enjoyed the presentations and was inspired by the amazing stories, and meeting with wonderful people. Plenty of motivation to establish a lifestyle medicine centre at PAU and support wellness hubs in Papua New Guinea.”

Amanda Joubert, another participant, echoed this sentiment. “Thanks so much for putting together such an amazing summit — what a great experience it was! Not only a beautiful venue, amazing people, but the messages were inspiring, informative, and relevant for our time! I would love to do some of the ELIA workshops, as I am inspired to go out and fulfill God’s purpose and mission in my own life. My biggest takeaway from the summit was ‘community for eternity!’ ” she said.

The original version of this story was posted by Adventist Record.

Tracey Bridcutt, Adventist Record