System plans to enhance support to comprehensive health ministry in local churches.
Published on: 08-20-2018
Seventh-day Adventist Church-sponsored Adventist Health System (AHS) recently announced that it will change its name to AdventHealth in January 2019. It is expected the move will unite the organization’s wholly owned hospital campuses and care sites under one unified brand to create a more connected and identifiable network of care for consumers.
The name change is part of a systemwide branding initiative meant to make health care easier for consumers, and explicitly articulate and preserve AHS’s connection to its legacy of whole-person health. To ensure that the Adventist community was aware of this transformation, the new brand initiative was communicated to pastors and members at local Adventist churches across AHS’s footprint on Saturday, August 18, 2018. A comprehensive transition campaign featuring television and print ads will follow from September to December, ahead of the official name change on January 2, 2019.
Church scholars and organizational leaders offered their thoughts on the name change, noting that for the first time in AHS’s history, all wholly owned facilities will align under one name that captures the core message of the mission — Christ’s healing ministry.
“The new name is anchored in the legacy of our faith in God, the hope we have in Christ, and the ministry of our [Adventist] founders,” said AHS president and CEO Terry Shaw. “It also expresses the Advent that brings salvation and healing.”
Adventist church historian Gilbert M. Valentine agreed. “Advent, in connection with an emphasis on health, [is] a way of embracing the healing, wholeness, and hopefulness that came in the incarnation of Jesus and His healing ministry,” he said. “[It also emphasizes] the hope and experience of healing that comes from a bright view of the future in the return of Jesus.”
“AdventHealth … ties us so beautifully into the roots of our church,” added Adventist Health System board chairman Gary Thurber. “We began because we had our eye on the Second Coming, and the Second Coming is really where all healing is going to take place. That’s the cure for all that ails us — the Second Coming. And to tie that into our health system’s name is just beautiful to me.”
A Catalyst for Mission
AHS senior vice-president and Chief Mission Integration Officer Ted Hamilton expects the brand initiative to help the organization engage more deeply with local churches, partly because of how well it resonates with its rich Seventh-day Adventist legacy.
“AdventHealth memorializes the incarnation of Jesus, affirms His ongoing healing presence today, and anticipates His soon return,” said Hamilton. “It is our privilege to share this message and ministry.”
Local church pastors who received the informational materials leading up to the August 18 announcement emphasized the upside of this renewed focus on the community.
“I think our members will be delighted to hear of this name change,” said Avon Park Seventh-day Adventist Church pastor Robert Hinds. “They’re … thankful for the ministry we share. They’ve hoped for such a clear linkage to be revealed, so will use this as an added opportunity to connect with neighbors and community members to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Kissimmee Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church pastor Idalberto Torres agreed. “This is a very positive change, perhaps long overdue. This new name will make it easier for our community to identify our hospitals with our Adventist message, and this fills me with pride and joy.”
Torres also believes the rebranding will serve as an opportunity for AHS hospitals and churches to work closely together in the surrounding communities. “When people are lovingly nurtured back to health, their hearts are more likely to open up to God’s message of salvation,” he said.
About Adventist Health
With the mission of “Extending the healing ministry of Christ,” AHS is a network of almost 50 hospital campuses and hundreds of care sites that include physician practices, hospitals, outpatient clinics, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, and hospice centers in nearly a dozen U.S. states, with about 80,000 employees and 5 million patients served annually. Founded in 1973, AHS is one of the largest faith-based health care systems in the United States. The organization states it offers the communities it serves “a continuum of connected care to address every stage of life and state of health.”
According to the informational brochure distributed on August 18, the new name of AdventHealth does not reflect a merger, acquisition, or change in ownership, but is a way of unifying all wholly owned AHS care facilities, which will continue to be Seventh-day Adventist institutions when the organization becomes AdventHealth.