More than 640 medical professionals, dentists, chaplains, health educators and students came together April 17-21 for the second European Health Conference in Bucharest, Romania. The conference theme, “Reversing diseases with Lifestyle Medicine,” addressed a major challenge in terms of treatment of disease.
Claiming responsibility for over 60% of all deaths, non-communicable diseases are currently the world’s main killer. The number of individuals affected by mental health conditions, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes will increase substantially in the coming decades. Lifestyle Medicine seeks to provide a cure by identifying the root cause of these lifestyle related diseases.
Inspired by Jesus’ method of healing the sick of His time, Valerie Dufour, Health Ministries director for the Adventist Church in Inter-Europe (EUD), organized the conference and highlighted stories of healing. These stories, she said, are “not pointing to a remedy for the sick, but rather call our attention to the Source and process of healing—as well as to each person’s necessary contribution to his/her own recovery.”
Romanian Minister of Health Sorina Pintea visited the conference. Pintea expressed her gratitude for what the Seventh-day Adventist Church does in the field of disease prevention. Pintea began by declaring that her mother-in-law was Seventh-day Adventist, so she is familiar with our health message. Stefan Tomoiga, president of the Adventist Church in Romania, thanked Pintea for her interest in public health.
Through academic lectures and workshops presented by experts from different parts of the world, the European Health Conference intended to give possible solutions to those suffering from chronic, non-communicable diseases. All the presenters were asked to share practical, evidence-based studies showing how, in many cases, these diseases can be successfully treated and reversed through lifestyle interventions.
Attendees felt the conference exceeded their expectations and they learned lifestyle preventive measures to implement into their personal life, work practice and community.
“This conference was really important because it gave us a scientific basis for integrating spirituality with lifestyle,” said Dr. Rudolf Brodbeck, an attendee from Switzerland. “Normally health professionals are trained only in bio-psycho-anthropology, but you need to integrate spirituality to be successful and to meet the need of the people.”
Svetlana, a nurse working in an unnamed country, said the conference could help her with her patients. “As a nurse I learned many things that I can share with people that need a good lifestyle. We need to be trained to help them. This conference opened my mind on how I can help them.”
“This conference gave a wonderful opportunity to learn cutting edge, relevant medical information in the context of a biblical worldview,” said Dr. Daniel Binus, clinical director at Beautiful Minds Medical, located in the US state of California. “It was also encouraging and inspiring to network with other Seventh-day Adventists making a difference through medical ministry.”
Worship services by Don Mackintosh, director of Newstart Global Health Program at Weimar College, located in the US state of California, were an important theological contribution to the conference. The devotionals Mackintosh presented were enriched by scientific data and helped the participants to discover the interest God has for the holistic wellness of His sons and daughters.
Dr. Zeno Charles-Marcel, associate director of Health Ministries for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, confirmed that “this conference was inspirational and humbling. God gives us a glimpse of His creative and re-creative power through health restorative science. It was a time to reconnect with colleagues and meet new ones which will undoubtedly lead to friendships and collaboration.”
Dr. Fred Hardinge, also an associate director of Health Ministries for the Seventh-day Adventist Church echoed what his colleagues affirmed: “This conference has furthered the understanding of the importance and variety of lifestyle interventions in improving quality of life, preventing disease, and as an important component in treating many degenerative conditions. It has been informative, motivational and inspirational!”
Participants came mainly from Europe, but attendees also came from the United States, Australia, Morocco, Thailand, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Russia and other countries. The conference was held in Bucharest, Romania, at the Rin Grand Hotel, close to the historical center of the city.