Alex Bryan and Kristine Johnson

 

 

By Brendan Collins

Adventist Health’s System Board recently tasked the Office of Mission to continually clarify the Adventist Health mission and to appropriately and proactively guard the organization from mission drift. Alex Bryan, Chief Mission Officer, immediately began constructing designs for leadership training and initiatives focusing on alignment to the mission of Adventist Health.

As a result, the Executive Mission Formation curriculum has been established. This includes an annual three-day learning experience and ongoing reading, reflection, and mentorship throughout the year, with participation from all executive-level leaders expected. The curriculum is designed to help all executives (regardless of personal theological beliefs or religious practices) to manage the company aligned to Adventist Health’s mission identity—leading with fidelity to our story, our mission statement, our values, and our church heritage.

Continual clarification of the Adventist Health mission, finding purpose, and protecting the heritage of the organization is more important now than ever. “Moral leadership matters,” said Alex Bryan. “The personal character and ethical impulses of leaders in an organization have a direct impact on the values, priorities, and commitments of that organization. Executive Mission Formation is designed to grow our leaders in the ways and means of Jesus. In church-world there’s a name for this: discipleship.”

With the constant change in the healthcare environment and our world, fidelity to the Adventist Health mission is more important than ever before. Staying true to our values while also using the heritage of the organization as a catalyst for continuing to move forward will prove to be interesting but important work. “The apostle Paul challenges us not to passively ‘conform to the pattern of this world but [to] be transformed by the renewing of [our] mind[s]’” explains Alex. “This (the Executive Mission Formation program) is serious, proactive work.”

To lead the curriculum and program, the Office of Mission has asked longtime Adventist Health associate Kristine Johnson to step into the new role of managing the program and coordinating all aspects of the curriculum. “Kristine Johnson has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to Jesus Christ, a faithful investment of nearly two decades in the healing ministry of Adventist Health, a unique ability to connect with people in a mature and inspiring way, and a unique skill-set in producing quality learning experiences” said Alex. “Kristine will be collaborating with the entire Office of Mission team in building faculty, curriculum, and ongoing learning experiences that will positively impact the missional growth of nearly 200 executives and other strategic leaders.”

Kristine Johnson’s deep appreciation of our mission was clearly echoed in her reflection on the future. “With a mission statement as aspirational and important as ‘Living God’s love,’ it’s essential that we dedicate the time and energy to discover, develop, and demonstrate the characteristics and behaviors to the leaders of this organization.” She continued, “The Executive Mission Formation will be the foundation that sets our hearts and minds on the course that will allow the organization to live our mission in an impactful way.”

The Office of Mission will launch the program starting early 2021 as we develop the integrity initiative. It will include participation from every executive in the organization, and will provide space for board members and other key stakeholders. For the latest updates, download the Simply Mission app at www.AdventistHealth.org/SimplyMission.


 

 

By Christine Pickering

As Adventist Health continues to advance its 2030 vision to bring health and well-being into reach for everyone, the faith-inspired health system has appointed three experienced executives to its system cabinet to focus on culture, mission, and consumer health, Adventist Health CEO Scott Reiner announced.
The nonprofit integrated healthcare system, which serves more than 80 rural and urban communities on the West Coast and in Hawaii, is transforming from a hospital-centered company to one primarily focused on health.
Joyce Newmyer, the president of Adventist Health services in Oregon, has been named chief culture officer. In her new position, Joyce leads and supports associate and provider engagement, communications, leadership development, and residencies, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion. She also will continue to serve as the primary relationship leader for Adventist Health’s partnership with Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland and will continue to chair the community boards for Adventist Health services in Portland and Tillamook, Oregon, and on Oahu in Hawaii.
“Joyce’s varied experiences have prepared her to help us build an intentional and unified culture that will define what it means to be Adventist Health,” Scott said. Joyce brings more than 20 years of healthcare executive experience to her role, serving at organizations in California, Kansas, Maryland, Oregon, and Tennessee.
Alex Bryan, who has more than 20 years of experience in pastoral ministry and higher education, has been appointed chief mission officer. Alex leads and supports a systemwide mission team in promoting and integrating the organization’s mission of “living God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope.”
“Our mission has always been important,” Scott said. “It’s what inspires us to transform the future of healthcare and the lives of those we touch. Now, as we intentionally expand over the next decade with bold moves, it is essential to have an even wider perspective of mission.”
In addition, Jason Wells, the president of Adventist Health’s three hospitals and services in Mendocino County, California, has been named chief consumer and innovation officer to help realign the organization around the consumer through products and services that better address health. Jason will be responsible for consumer services, experience design, marketing and brand, public affairs, and strategy activation.
“Jason has demonstrated effective leadership and exceptional engagement along with an ability to mobilize stakeholders toward a common vision with bold, creative thinking,” Scott said. “These skills will be critical in transforming Adventist Health into the innovative and consumer-focused organization we aspire to be.”
Before joining Adventist Health in 2017, Jason, who is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, served in healthcare executive and leadership roles in North Carolina and Florida.
Jason will remain in Mendocino County until a new president is identified. He will also continue to serve as chair of the community boards for Adventist Health Howard Memorial in Willits, Mendocino Coast in Fort Bragg, and Ukiah Valley.

“Our mission has always been important. It’s what inspires us to transform the future of healthcare and the lives of those we touch.”


Katie Wagner

 

 

By Alex Bryan

In this autumn season, we find ourselves surrounded: a virulent virus, a weakened economy, racial strife, a cruel political incivility, widespread anxiety, depression, loneliness, and malaise.
What’s a Christian to do?
Adventist Health is a humanitarian ministry of 37,000 associates serving more than 9 million people in over 80 communities on the West Coast and in Hawaii. Our answer to a chronically inhospitable and often acutely hostile world? Hospitality. Hospitality in the deepest sense of the word. The healing, wholistic, hopeful hospitality of Jesus.
This work includes physicians, nurses, therapists, counselors, and an expansive support team. It also includes the unique labor of chaplains—clergy expertly trained to minister to caregivers, patients, families, and communities. These dedicated, highly skilled professionals work to turn mere clinics into houses of hope. They are tasked to lead hospitals to live up to their highest, original purpose: Christian hospitality. In a world “harassed and helpless” … “like sheep without a shepherd,” chaplains “see the crowds and have compassion on them.” They “proclaim the good news of the kingdom and heal every disease and sickness” (Matthew 9:35-36).
They do the work of Jesus.
Adventist Health’s Office of Mission has launched a new program to recruit and train young Adventist leaders in the sacred calling of pastoral work in a healthcare setting. This August, the Mission Leadership Internship program welcomed our first candidate, Katie Wagner, a 2020 graduate of Walla Walla University. The curriculum includes full employment as an Adventist Health associate, four units of Clinical Pastoral Education, and sponsorship of a M.Div. degree.
“There’s beautiful hope in this care, a hope that our world so desperately needs right now,” says Wagner. “We have the incredible opportunity to lead, care for, and share God’s love with every person we encounter and serve: our associates, patients, community members, and beyond. That mission to live God’s love is something I deeply resonate with and am passionate about. I’m looking forward to experiencing the positive impact our Adventist Health community will continue to have in this world.”
Wagner joins a systemwide team of approximately 100 clergy—spiritual care directors, clinical chaplains, and on-call pastors—dedicated to tangibly supplying the hope of Jesus in a world hungering for something to believe in. The healing ministry of Jesus, pervasive and prioritized in the Gospel record, is the blueprint of our work. His commitment to universal compassion, excellence in care, and wholistic medicine—alleviating mental, physical, social, and spiritual disease—is our collective vocation.
This world is a dangerous place. But Jesus has called us to be God’s loving, hopeful hold until He comes again.

“We have the incredible opportunity to lead, care for, and share God’s love with every person we encounter and serve: our associates, patients, community members, and beyond. That mission to live God’s love is something I deeply resonate with and am passionate about.”


 

 

By Yara Enamorado

Exercise, gardening, socializing, and community outreach—sounds tiring, right? Well for Sonia Ulloa, that’s just living your best life. At 92 years young, Sonia is the oldest member of Adventist Health White Memorial’s (AHWM) ¡Vive Bien! Senior Wellness Program.
Run by AHWM’s Community Information Center, the ¡Vive Bien! Senior Wellness Program is on a mission to save lives, rejuvenate the weary, and bring the community together.
According to several studies, such as one from Journal of Health and Social Behavior, depression reaches its highest level in adults 80 years and older. Eighty years—that’s our parents, our grandparents, our aunts and uncles, and our neighbors. The ¡Vive Bien! Program wants to ensure that our elders have something to live for, something that brings joy and wellness.

The Community Information Center team (left to right): Alan Sanchez, community outreach manager; Christopher Gonzalez, community programs coordinator; Araceli Marquez, intern; Elizabeth Rodriguez, Community Information Center coordinator.

“It saved me from depression. I’ve made friends, and I’m living my best life at 92,” said Sonia. She isn’t the only one impacted by this program. Sonia is just one of the hundreds that the ¡Vive Bien! Senior Wellness Program continuously helps through enriching nutritional education and social clubs. By working closely with the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation, ¡Vive Bien! also offers seniors over the age of 60 on-site and over-the-phone assistance, resources, referrals to agencies, and programs based on individual needs.
More importantly, however, the ¡Vive Bien! Program gives its members the opportunity to give back to the community. The knitting club provides not only a social outlet but also helps create cozy beanies and booties for AHWM’s NICU children. Seniors serve homeless men and women at Dolores Mission, just blocks away from the hospital. Through the gardening club, they learn about nutrition and help maintain a special haven for the community to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables. Sonia loves the fact that the program is at a hospital. She feels safe knowing that if anything should happen, she’d be taken care of quickly. Additionally, she encourages everyone to stay active and find outlets like ¡Vive Bien! that foster socialization. “I can’t just stay home; I’ll find myself bored and sad. We can’t do that,” she said.
“As our (Adventist Health) mission is to live God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness, and hope, we want ¡Vive Bien! to do that specifically for our senior community. We bring people together, incubate friendships, fight the loneliness that often comes with seniority, provide spiritual guidance, and help them learn how to stay healthy,” said Elizabeth Rodriguez, AH Community Information Center coordinator.
With gardening, book, knitting, Bible study, and many more clubs, ¡Vive Bien! is out to provide seniors in Boyle Heights a refuge that prioritizes human wholeness. Alan Sanchez, Community Information Center manager, said, “We have the commitment to provide our community members with resources and education services to help them live fulfilling lives—inspiring happiness, collaboration, and a sense of a greater community for the wellbeing of all.”
As Seventh-day Adventists, we believe in the gospel of Christ, His ministry here on earth, and that we are called to be His light in this world. We are to live as He lived. Christ healed the sick, He made the blind see and the deaf hear—but He didn’t stop there. Christ healed the soul!
If we are to be a hospital that claims the name of Jesus, then our mission of living God’s love must be fully realized in that we not only heal the body but we heal the soul and inspire hope. This program is just one way Adventist Health is fulling its mission and acting on our organizational values to own our mission and be a force for good.


 

 

Hundreds of former employees and community members gathered for a Camp Fire Day of Remembrance in Paradise, California, on November 9, 2019.

by Jill Kinney

The devastation of the Camp Fire ravaged the Paradise community and adjacent areas a little over one year ago, causing residents to flee and businesses, including Adventist Health Feather River, to close. While much has happened in the ensuing year, it seemed fitting to pause for a Day of Remembrance. It was an opportunity for friends, family, colleagues, and community members to join together to reflect on Adventist Health Feather River’s history, legacy of healing, and specifically the acts of heroism that occurred during Camp Fire.
The day started with a worship service featuring keynote speaker Alex Bryan, mission identity executive at Adventist Health, who provided heartfelt words of wisdom and healing. Other guest speakers included Scott Reiner, chief executive officer of Adventist Health; Congressman Doug LaMalfa; Senator Jim Nielsen; Assemblyman James Gallagher; Wayne Ferch, president of Central California Region, Adventist Health; Rick Rawson, president of Adventist Health and Rideout; and Ryan Ashlock, operations executive, Adventist Health Castle. Each brought a different perspective on Adventist Health Feather River’s journey of heritage, healing, and hope.
“Paradise will never be the same place it was, but a new version of this community will emerge,” commented Scott Reiner. “Adventist Health has been living our mission of inspiring health, wholeness, and hope in Paradise and throughout Butte County for nearly 60 years and remains committed to continuing this legacy for generations to come.”
At the afternoon gathering, held at Adventist Health Feather River campus, hundreds of people were able to reconnect with colleagues and friends, participate in self-guided reflection, and stop by interactive stations—including a reflection pond, surrounded by flowers, representing all of the patients who got out safely because of the heroic efforts of the brave employees of Adventist Health. Other stations included a prayer garden, an interactive art station, and an overlook area where one could reflect on the ravaged destruction below.
It was a day to be remembered by all who attended. It reaffirmed how special the people are at Adventist Health and how firmly rooted they are in their faith and their principles, which extend beyond the boundaries of medical care. The employees and community members showed enormous dedication to each other and to those most in need. It was a day of healing in the truest sense of the word.
For those who couldn’t attend the worship service or attend the day’s event, images and the service can be viewed at AdventistHealth.org/RemembranceDay.


 

 

By Brendan Collins

Just hours after the Camp Fire destroyed Paradise, California, and the surrounding area, Adventist Health coordinated several hotlines and call centers for those impacted by the disaster. In the days and months after the fire, Adventist Health associates managed calls ranging from housing needs to prescription medications and clinic appointments. For Phil, an Adventist Health IT Support Center analyst, one call stood out above all the others.
Almost two months after the fire, Steve called the hotline regarding his future work plans at Adventist Health. Steve had worked at Adventist Health Feather River for 13 years. He spent the first nine years as a security guard and the next four in nutrition services. In addition to losing his job as a result of the fire, his house had burned down.
Adventist Health kept all associates on payroll for three months after the fire. As the February deadline approached, Steve began to actively seek out another opportunity at Adventist Health. He called the support center to get a copy of his résumé. That’s when Phil picked up the phone.
Phil quickly realized that Steve was stressed about securing a new job. During the 76-minute call, Phil helped Steve find his résumé; however, he provided him more than just the document. He gave Steve an outlet to voice his frustrations, provided a sense of relaxation, and reassured Steve that God is in control.
“It was as if God Himself sent me an angel to restore not just my personal faith but my faith in Adventist Health as well,” Steve said of Phil. “I simply believe that God used Phil right at that moment just to let me know ‘I’m still here.’”
Steve was so comforted and impressed by Phil’s assistance that he wanted to get in touch with Phil’s supervisor to commend him for his work. The next day, Steve contacted Diane.
Diane recommended to Steve that he apply to work at the café in the new Adventist Health headquarters in Roseville, California, when it opened in April of 2019. Steve loved the idea since he had a background in nutritional services and wanted to continue his career with Adventist Health.
After the new campus opened in April, neither Phil nor Diane were aware that Steve had been hired to work at the Vitaliz Café. After Steve’s story was shared at an associate town hall meeting, Diane and Phil realized the full-circle connection.
Even through the chaos and uncertainty of life had thrown Steve, all it took was a phone call about his résumé to restore his faith in God.


 

 

By Dan Anderson

Adventist Health Glendale recently hosted its first-ever Wellbeing Block Party at Glendale Central Park. More than 1,000 people participated in healthy activities, exercise classes, and more.

Co-hosts for the free community event were the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.

“In addition to being president of Adventist Health Glendale, I’m also a 40-year resident of Glendale, so it is particularly meaningful to launch something like this in the community,” said Alice Issai, who joined the hospital as president in July 2018.

“Next year, we will celebrate our 115th year in the community, and we’ve always been committed to caring for the physical, mental, and spiritual health of all our neighbors,” Issai added. “This event exemplifies that commitment.”

Adventist Health Glendale physicians provided blood pressure, glucose, and BMI screenings, as well as one-on-one time with visitors to field health questions. Members of the Live Well Senior Program were on hand to lead chair yoga and other exercise breaks. Volunteers distributed more than 16,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables, thanks to AHA’s community partner, Food Forward.

“Our very first AHA and Adventist Health Glendale Wellbeing Block Party was a huge success,” said Taylor Tomczyszyn, Corporate Initiatives Director for the Heart Association in Los Angeles. “I’m thrilled that we were able to bring this Block Party vision to life and showcase Adventist Health Glendale to the community in such a meaningful way.”

Said one of the participants, “The day was hot and the party hotter! It was educational, entertaining, and very enjoyable. I came home and fixed a heart-healthy casserole with the yellow squash I got.”

Planning has already begun for a Wellbeing Block Party in 2020.

 

Printed: February 2021  – Page 1 of 1

Article reprint from Adventistfaith.com on February 2021

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