By Greg Hodgson

Volunteers from the Adventist hospitals in Colorado have been extending the healing ministry of Christ not only locally, but also internationally. In 2016, Centura Health will celebrate 10 years since the founding of Global Health Initiatives, the medical mission arm of the current Adventist hospitals in the Denver metro-area.

The first volunteers left Colorado for Mugonero Adventist Hospital in Rwanda in January 2006. An orthopedic team from Avista Adventist Hospital led the charge, and was quickly followed by a medical mission team traveling to Nepal in February, and then to Peru in April. Since that time, nearly 1,200 volunteers have participated in these three projects, performing hundreds of free surgeries and seeing nearly 30,000 primary care patient visits. The projects are part of building a long-term relationship that promotes change and improvement of medical care overseas.

“The main objective of these medical mission projects is to build capacity at existing mission hospitals so that they can better serve their own communities,” comments Stephen King, vice president for mission and ministry at the Colorado hospital system. “We accomplish this through providing continuing medical education for local doctors and nurses, and through leadership training, strategic planning, financial management, and human resource development.” Additional support is provided through the provision of needed medical equipment and supplies, as well as some limited building projects.

“Adventist hospitals in the developing world were started by brave medical missionaries which normally had strong support from their home churches and the larger church organization,” says Greg Hodgson, director of Global Health Initiatives.

Hodgson explains that, “over time these hospitals were transferred to local leadership, which is important in developing national expertise, but unfortunately the international support and funding largely disappeared. But as the world church organization is no longer giving support to these facilities, others come to their aid. We are among the Adventist hospitals which have prospered in the United States and elsewhere, and we want to be involved.”

“We take pride in these global health programs,” adds Morre Dean, president of the south Denver group of Adventist hospitals. “Not only are we strengthening these mission hospitals, which are vital to the health of their communities, but we are also providing our own physicians and associates an opportunity to participate in a life-changing mission. With God’s blessing, this is truly a win-win situation for all involved.”

–Greg Hodgson is director of Global Health Initiatives for Centura Health.