AdventHealth President/CEO Terry Shaw on the opening night of AdventHealth's 33rd annual Conference on Mission held in Orlando. [PC: Timothy Brown]

October 31, 2023

An Unbroken Thread: 50 Years United in Mission

“My calling and the calling of AdventHealth is to sow seeds of hope, healing and wholeness … To embody the privilege of Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ. What about you? Will you join me?” 

This was the question posed by President/CEO Terry Shaw on the opening night of AdventHealth’s 33rd annual Conference on Mission held in Orlando, Florida. The conference was attended by AdventHealth Board members and executive leaders, key representatives from the Seventh-day Adventist Church and local community leaders. It was an invitation to reflect on the efforts of the past and acknowledge the work that lies ahead. 

With 2023 being an anniversary year for AdventHealth, the conference was a time of both celebration and reflection of the company’s 50-year history since its founding in 1973 when representatives from standalone hospitals across the southern states made the decision to join and form the health system. 

During the conference, attendees explored five decades of AdventHealth history through a unique multimedia experience titled “50 Years: United in Mission.” The experience revealed the unbroken thread of mission woven into the essence of Adventist health care, starting with the legacy of Christ’s ministry on Earth and continuing with pioneers who founded the church’s earliest sanitariums.  

“God's been so faithful and has bestowed abundant blessings on His healing ministry. The evidence of His presence and providence over these past 50 years, since 1973, is incredible,” said Tim Cook, chief mission integration officer at AdventHealth. 

  The group explored the foundation of our health care ministry, the culture of AdventHealth that refuses to allow mission drift and the role that innovation plays in sustaining that mission and carrying it into the future. In this exploration, the level of intentionality was evident in the training and mentoring of AdventHealth leaders as well as succession planning to keep the unbroken thread of mission integrity going. 

“This is our mission: extending the healing ministry of Christ,” said Cook. “There isn’t a wasted word. It isn’t a preamble. It isn’t the beginning line of a complicated dissertation. It’s simple. It’s profound. It’s intentional. It’s active. And it’s complete.” 

Key leaders from AdventHealth’s history shared their unique perspectives on how the mission advanced during their time and how each person’s efforts brought momentum to the continuous weaving of the unbroken thread of mission. 

Thor Thordarson, president and CEO of UChicago Medicine AdventHealth Great Lakes Region, said the core mission is still alive, “through strategic investments in meaningful initiatives, collaborative partnerships with our community and dedicated support for local causes, our commitment to healing and providing wholeness remains resolute.” He continued, “With an unwavering commitment to those who entrust us with their care guided by our team members who stand at the very core of our endeavors, we forge ahead on a path paved by compassion, excellence and a relentless pursuit of bringing our mission to life.” 

Elizabeth Camps is a senior communications specialist at AdventHealth.