Adventist Health Leaders Come Together for Mission Day

Adventist Health has a legacy in mission focus and whole-person care that has stood strong through many changing health care policies and uncertain financial times. The reason for this is Adventist Health’s firm rooting in its mission, says JoAline Olson, senior vice president/chief human resources and innovation officer. To promote this mission-focused care, Adventist Health hosted a Mission Day event for the system’s leaders in Roseville, Calif.

More than 140 leaders gathered to focus on the system’s mission and values. The attendees included chief executive officers, chief financial officers, patient care executives, chaplain directors, and strategic partners from Cerner and Jones Lang LaSalle. “In times of changing health care policies, it is important for Adventist health care leaders to reflect on our foundations, focus on the present and to plan the future,” says Paul Crampton, assistant vice president of mission and spiritual care.

The theme of the event was based on Rev. 22:1–3, which talks about the leaves of the Tree of Life providing healing for the nations. This was symbolic of the healing mission of Adventist Health. Each attendee was given a unique leaf to symbolize their distinctive purpose in fulfilling the mission of Adventist Health.

The event featured many speakers from across the system and Adventist historian Ron Graybill. Graybill helped the audience understand the foundations of their Adventist faith and of Adventist Health. Rodney Wehtje, Adventist Health vice president of finance and treasurer, and Tom Russell, Adventist Medical Center (Portland, Ore.) president and CEO, shared stories of financial and public crisis that the organization faced. They were united in their thought on how God has always led the organization seamlessly through any crisis. They encouraged the audience that God will continue to guide even through storms as leaders pursue the Adventist Health mission, “To share God's love by providing physical, mental and spiritual healing.”

Individuals across the system came together to share ideas on how to deal with issues that each of them face in their workplace including health care, communication and finance. “This event brought together people we wouldn’t normally see and gave us the chance to cross-pollinate ideas,” says Bryan Lewis, Sonora (Calif.) Regional Medical Center mission and spiritual care director.

Crampton states that the event was an excellent source of rejuvenation and a reminder to the leaders of their purpose. “Coming out of Mission Day, I felt encouraged, rejuvenated and optimistic about our future,” says Crampton. “I know that the others will take this energy and vigor to staff in their individual facilities, and together we can make a difference in our communities.”

The day-long event culminated with a special ceremony creating a distinctive piece of artwork as attendees “inked” their thumbprints on the limbs of a leafless tree to symbolize how each unique leaf comes together to fulfill a greater purpose. “This was a beautiful symbol,” says Lewis. “We Christians often say that we are God’s hands, and we are also God’s thumbprints. It was a beautiful depiction of who we are as an organization. We are God’s representatives to heal the nations. This day rejuvenated us to do just that.”

Featured in: June 2014