Seventh-day Adventist Health Ministries will now have greater emphasis on public health and possible partnerships with allied organizations, following action taken this morning by the world church's Executive Committee.
Church officials voted a recommended statement from a July conference, which brought together top Adventist Church leaders and World Health Organization representatives to explore partnership possibilities for implementing public health initiatives.
The statement affirms the church's health objectives of serving the community and improving global health.
"This moves the church to be a player in a larger arena," said Allan Handysides, the church's Health Ministries director.
"While we're continuing to work with and for individuals, we'll now also address societal problems of health," Handysides said.
The statement comes three months after Adventist Church President Jan Paulsen called on the church to partner with similar credible organizations whose aim is to improve global health. In a keynote address to the July Global Conference on Health and Lifestyles, Paulsen said the church's work would be strengthened through partnerships.
"We cannot express our faith, our desire to imitate Christ, in seclusion," Paulsen said at the conference.
Today, Handysides said the church could now be in a position to advocate on health issues at the local, state and national levels. He specified issues such as child safety, community nutrition and "non-discriminatory universal access of available healthcare."
The statement affirms the church's teaching of evidence-based primary care and also includes rights and responsibilities of "human dignity," "social justice" and "self-determination."