October 1, 2015
Five Steps to Health in America
A Health Policy Agenda For The Next President & Congress Of The United States.
A Proposal from the Adventist Health Policy Association To Promote Sound Health Policy In 2016 and Beyond.
The Seventh-day Adventist commitment to fostering human health began more than 150 years ago at a time when much of what passed for medical care was in fact detrimental.
Patent medicines, often containing toxic or addictive substances, were widely offered as cures for nearly all ailments. Many medical interventions at the time – such as bloodletting, heroin for the common cold, and radium for arthritis and diabetes – caused far more harm than good.
By contrast, Adventists began to teach the value of a healthy lifestyle and a preference for natural remedies including fresh air, regular exercise and pure water. Within a few years, Adventists expanded their health ministry by establishing innovative health care institutions. The first of these opened in 1866 in Battle Creek, Michigan, where people not only received treatment for diseases but were also taught how to prevent them. Since these early beginnings, Adventists have continued to build hundreds of hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and health-sciences schools around the world.
The Adventist work toward human health is founded on the belief that every person is a beloved child of the Creator, and deserving of compassionate, whole-person care with thoughtful attention to all dimensions of a person’s life. Thus, Adventists believe that caring for physical well-being is spiritually significant, and that one of the practical implications of faith is a willingness to take responsibility for one’s own health and that of one’s neighbors. Our hope is that all may experience the abundance of life intended by the Creator.
In recent years, the Adventist health systems in the United States have recognized more fully the opportunity to influence health policy in order to preserve the vitality of charitable, faith-inspired health systems and to deploy effective resources for the development of whole-community health. In 2010, the Adventist Health Policy Association (AHPA) was created as their united voice for health policy priorities. In 2014, the new Loma Linda University Institute for Health Policy & Leadership began to collaborate with AHPA in this work.
People who are motivated by Christian faith understand that we must address the socially complex circumstances that frequently result in poor personal and community health. We are committed to responding to the often-inconvenient pleas for mercy and fairness. We know that such work can never be reduced to mere business exchanges. Many of the persons who most need care may have little to offer in exchange.
Adventists believe that all persons in need of health care, regardless of their social or economic status, are deserving of our care. This dedication to the principles of whole-person, whole-community care gives us the moral gravitas necessary to pursue the goals we set forth in this plan.
We invite the next President and Congress of the United States to join with us and like-minded policy makers in building a future that is healthier, equitable and more hopeful for all Americans.
– Dr. Gerald Winslow