Global Missions program continues expanding its international partnerships to enhance care services.
Published on: 02-27-2023
AdventHealth has expanded its international partnerships to Chile, welcoming two new institutions to the Global Missions program. It will now include the Adventist Hospital of Los Angeles (Clínica Adventista de Los Angeles – CLINALA) and Chile Adventist University (Universidad Adventista de Chile – UnACh), to form the 13th partnership in the program. This is the first time a university has been included.
“It’s really great that we have the opportunity to partner with the [Seventh-day] Adventist Church and its health and higher learning institutions,” Jennifer Wandersleben, regional president and CEO of AdventHealth in West Florida, said. “We can share best practices with one another and enhance the care we deliver to our communities.”
The relationship between the institutions was officially launched when Wandersleben traveled to Chile in December 2022 with an AdventHealth delegation, which included Jason Newmyer, president and CEO of AdventHealth Riverview, and Monty Jacobs, director for Global Missions. Wandersleben and Newmyer will serve as the executive sponsors for this partnership, and both feel a connection to Chile through family ties and Newmyer’s Hispanic heritage.
“It’s a blessing to serve abroad as it showcases our commitment to humanity and fellow Christian brothers and sisters in other parts of the world,” Newmyer said.
The partnership will focus on seven core areas, including exchanging clinical education content in areas including patient safety and quality assurance, improving clinical and operational processes, and supporting education and training for physicians and clinical staff. It will also include developing strategies for filling health-care occupations experiencing shortage, exploring research opportunities, and sharing equipment and supplies. Finally, it will work on enhancing delivery of the partners’ common faith-based mission and focus on whole-person care.
AdventHealth and AdventHealth University (AHU) had previously collaborated with CLINALA and UnACh more informally. In March 2019, Global Missions representatives met in Chile with key leaders from CLINALA and UnACh to discuss future collaboration. After COVID-19-related travel restrictions were lifted, a delegation from Chile traveled to the U.S. to meet with the Global Missions team and the executive sponsors.
Chile’s health-care system faces several challenges. In the private sector, rising costs and affordability are a significant challenge to access. In the public sector, rising rates of various chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease have affected health-care delivery and access. Nurse staffing levels also remain stubbornly low compared to international standards.
The partnership seeks to expand access to health care in Chile; support the growth and quality of medical services; and provide greater investments in those services.
“We have an opportunity to serve through sharing our experiences as a world-class health care organization, participating in brainstorming sessions regarding their strategic opportunities, exploring creative solutions to solve complex issues and encouraging their adoption to new care pathways,” Newmyer said. “These moments can positively impact lives on the other side of the world.”
In addition, AdventHealth Global Missions will organize mission trips related to its work in Chile. “There are areas of Chile with underserved people groups that will likely be a focus,” Jacobs said. “These trips would be a collaborative effort with CLINALA and UnACh serving as the host institutions.”
CLINALA, founded in 1979, is in the southern-central part of the country, in the city of Los Angeles, a commercial hub for agriculture, factories, mills, and lumberyards near the Biobío River. CLINALA’s mission is to promote and restore comprehensive health by offering an excellent service inspired by the ministry of Christ.
UnACh, which is on an 890-acre (360-hectare) campus near the city of Chillán, not far from the Andes cordillera, was founded in 1906 and relocated to its current site in 1922. It is near the Pan-American Highway and the main north-south railroad line, making it a way station for many who travel the country. In 2022, the university had more than 2,500 undergraduate students and 82 postgraduate students. School leaders said that UnACh has a deep desire to collaborate on health-care education and build clinical operations related to its educational programs.