There in the Past, Here for the Future

Adventist health care institutions have a long and rich history. In 1878, St. Helena Hospital—located in California’s beautiful Napa Valley—opened its doors and started what would become a long tradition of Christ-centered, mission-driven healing on the West Coast. Here in the Northwest, Adventist Medical Center in Portland (est. 1894) and Walla Walla General Hospital (est. 1899) have also been delivering this distinctive kind of care for more than a century.

Over the past 100 years, the health care landscape has changed dramatically. New technologies, treatments and knowledge have come onto the scene. HMOs, malpractice and insurance premiums have become household terms. And like any other business, competition is a key issue. In today’s climate, the health care industry can be rough, volatile and uncertain. So why do we still do it? Why is it still important to operate and support Adventist health care institutions?

The answer is simple. Over the past century a lot of things have changed, but one thing has remained constant—the distinctive mission our hospitals share with their communities: Health care that not only heals the body but also comforts the soul and a kind of caring that strives to mirror Christ’s ministry here on this earth.

As vice chair of Adventist Health’s board of directors, I’m proud to be a part of an organization where mission comes first. I’m humbled to hear stories about patients whose lives have been changed forever because of their experiences at Adventist Health facilities. And I’m excited to report that despite industry turbulence, God continues to richly bless our Adventist health care facilities.

For more than a century, Adventist Health facilities have been healing the body, mind and spirit—and the organization is committed to delivering on its distinctive mission in the future. In the pages that follow, you’ll read about new building projects designed to ensure that Adventist Health will be able to serve the needs of its communities for decades to come. In addition, you’ll be introduced to several committed individuals who work for our health care system—these bright, young people also ensure that the mission of Adventist Health will go marching forward. Because changing lives for eternity is why the business of Adventist health care yesterday is still the business of Adventist health care today.

Jere D. Patzer is the North Pacific Union Conference president and writes from Vancouver, Washington.

October 01, 2003 / Editorial