United States-based Adventist Health System (AHS) recently announced the organization will change its name to AdventHealth as of January 2019, a transition AHS leaders say connects the health care system closer to the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“The decision to identify our dynamic health system as AdventHealth emerged from a multi-year process of prayer, market research, and mission-focused thinking,” says Adventist Health System CEO Terry Shaw. “We’re committed to working even more closely with the world church to unite the healing, teaching and outreach missions for which God raised up this movement. Our new name underscores our vital connection with the Seventh-day Adventist Church in purpose, service and identity.”
AHS is a non-profit health care organization which manages 50 hospital campuses and hundreds of care facilities mostly in the Southern and Midwestern regions of the United States.
Ted Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, addressed questions that the health system name change implies other coming changes. “The Seventh-day Adventist Church has been blessed with a name agreed upon by our pioneers and blessed by heaven as the right name for God’s last-day movement,” clarified Wilson. “Our name is inextricably linked with our identity and mission. There are absolutely no plans whatsoever and there will never be plans to change the name of our beloved church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”
Why the Change?
AHS undertook the comprehensive branding process in order to make health care easier for patients, and to explicitly articulate and preserve AHS’s connection to its legacy of whole-person health, AHS leaders have explained.
“AdventHealth ties us so beautifully into the roots of our church,” says Gary Thurber, AHS board chairman and president of the Mid-America Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. “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 really 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.”
As part of this transition, all of Adventist Health System’s wholly-owned hospitals and care sites across its footprint will adopt the AdventHealth name and logo. Currently AHS hospitals operate under a variety of names, many of which do not have a reference to the Seventh-day Adventist name. The new naming structure will allow patients to more easily distinguish AdventHealth’s care locations and services, say AHS leaders. While its name is changing, the organization is not changing in ownership or business structure.
A Positive Mission-oriented Relationship
While AHS is not owned directly by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the health care system maintains close and positive ties with the denomination. Among those ties, the organization’s board is chaired by an Adventist union conference president, and AHS continues to create health-related resources widely in use by Adventists, such as the CREATION Health curriculum for healthy living.
The relationship between Adventist Health System and the Church will continue to be strong and supportive, say Church leaders. The name change is an action of a particular health system, which embraces the Seventh-day Adventist hope in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.