Three individuals share the unique “why” behind what brought them all to AdventHealth.

May 31, 2023

Many Reasons, One Mission

Three individuals share the unique “why” behind what brought them all to AdventHealth

One of the most important things that separates a faith-based health care system from other systems is just that – faith. At UChicago Medicine AdventHealth, team members feel connected to the organization’s mission of extending the healing ministry of Christ. They sense the presence of God in their work, and that lifts them up and gives them a greater purpose. And through their God-given gifts, they each bring something unique to the table as they live out AdventHealth’s mission in their individual roles.


A Half Century of Service

On May 22, Esther Jarrette, a lifetime member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, celebrated 50 years of service with AdventHealth’s Great Lakes Region. She is currently the project coordinator for Mission and Ministry, under the leadership of Mark Bondarenko, executive director of Mission Integration for the UChicago Medicine AdventHealth. In addition, her husband, Michael, has been a team member at UChicago Medicine AdventHealth Hinsdale for 35 years.

Jarrette came from Trinidad & Tobago, where her father, E. F. de Gannes, was a Seventh-day Adventist minister and publishing director for the South Caribbean Conference. “My choosing to live a life in service to God and to be attuned to following the promptings of the Holy Spirit in all aspects of life can be attributed to the foundation laid and example set by my father,” she said. “Daddy was unwavering in his commitment to his family and to doing the Lord’s work.”

After earning an associate degree in Trinidad, Jarrette came to Berrien Springs, Michigan, where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Andrews University. She had planned to return to Trinidad after completing her undergraduate studies, she said, “but God intervened with a phone call from the employment director at the hospital, offering me a job as a secretary in the pathology department.” At the time, UChicago Medicine AdventHealth Hinsdale was called Adventist Hinsdale Hospital.

God continued to guide her career within the health system, Jarrette said. Early in her employment, her visa was about to expire, and her application for a work permit had been rejected three times. The employment director at Hinsdale called her into his office, where they knelt together and prayed for a solution.

Esther Jarrette [Matt Rainey]
Esther Jarrette [Matt Rainey]

“Less than a month later, I received my work permit,” she said. “To me, that experience was a sign from God that He had a plans for me here at Hinsdale.”

She held other positions within the system, including 26 years as executive assistant to six vice presidents of finance for AdventHealth in the Great Lakes Region. In 2004, the region’s then-President & CEO Ernie Sadau told her about an open position in Mission and Ministry. “I told him I knew nothing about that department and that moving from finance into that role sounded terrifying,” Jarrette said. But she took the job, and it has given her a greater opportunity to serve the system and its mission.

Esther and Michael, who met in Trinidad, married in 1987 and have two grown sons, Rommel and Larnelle. The couple enjoys nature, travel, time with family and friends, and good food.

Jarrette sees her long career as a way in which to live out God’s plan for her, and she believes that she has been blessed to be able to follow that plan for five decades.

“Throughout my life’s work experiences, God has presented me with opportunities that I would have never found on my own,” she said. “I love that in our work we can embrace opportunities that give us the privilege of extending the healing ministry of Christ.”


Addressing Burnout in New Nurses

Diana Pearce is coordinator of the New Graduate RN Residency Program for UChicago Medicine AdventHealth Hinsdale, and for her final project in her Doctor of Nursing practice at Northern Illinois University, she wanted to do something that focused on those new nurses.

“I considered different clinical ideas, but none of them really worked for me because my passion is with the new graduate nurses,” Pearce said. “So, I prayed, and God told me, ‘No, you have to do something about the nurses and why they are feeling so burned out.’” Burnout has always been a problem in health care, but the pandemic made the problem worse and even affected nurses who are relatively new to the job.

As Pearce looked at ways to design her project, she was increasingly drawn to her own faith. “I really just went back to who we are as a faith-based organization that can support people through all their different emotions, and physical and behavioral feelings,” she said.

Diana Pearce [Eric Herzog]
Diana Pearce [Eric Herzog]

She recalled the AdventHealth concept of CREATION Life, a Bible-based plan for building a life based on Choice, Rest, Environment, Activity, Trust, Interpersonal relationships, Outlook and Nutrition. She chose to focus on Outlook. “Studies have shown that a positive outlook can increase your blood flow and help you fight off illnesses better, and it has been proven to help prevent burnout,” she said.

In designing her project, she looked for “a valid and reliable intervention that could increase positive outlook.” She landed on the “three good things” idea, which asks people to reflect daily on three good things that are going on in their lives. “Studies show that if people do that for as few as seven days, it becomes a habit and it might decrease their burnout,” Pearce said.

Pearce started with a group of 19 nurses. She gave each of them a questionnaire that measures the level of burnout based on three criteria: emotional exhaustion, feeling disconnected with others and feeling a lack of personal accomplishment. She asked the participants to think of three good things every day for 15 days, at which time she asked them to retake the questionnaire.

The results among the 10 nurses who completed the study showed a decrease in emotional exhaustion. “They were able to take their feelings of the day-to-day stresses and put those aside to focus on the good things that were happening as well,” she said. “These nurses and their bosses are telling me that the nurses are feeling more positive and engaged, which has positively impacted their work.”

Pearce feels strongly that her faith influenced her work with this study and that it influences her work with the new grads.

“I would not have come to this project at all if it were not for my faith in God,” she said. “There are always challenges in hospital-based nursing. But if we remember to go back to God and put our challenges in Him, then it gets easier.”


Young Chaplain Found Challenges, a Home at Hospital

When Michael Kindom, hospital chaplain manager at UChicago Medicine AdventHealth Hinsdale, graduated from seminary at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, he was uncertain how he wanted to practice his vocation. He was looking for pastoral work, but a visit with an old friend set his life on a different course.

His friend, who was a retired chaplain, suggested that Kindom consider chaplaincy work instead. He decided to explore it, and his friend put him in touch with a senior chaplain at Adventist Health in Glendale, California. He started his chaplaincy training at Los Angeles County Hospital.

“It was challenging, but it was meaningful and valuable work,” Kindom said. “I never looked back.”

After he completed his year of chaplaincy training, he was hired as a chaplain at a small hospice in Los Angeles. He worked there from 2018 to 2020. "That was the first time I was really around the actual moments of death, and I think it was very valuable preparation for the pandemic," he said.

Michael Kindom [Eric Herzog]
Michael Kindom [Eric Herzog]

In October 2019, about a week after he and his wife had a baby girl, he received a call from Hinsdale asking if he would consider a job as a chaplain there. He was interested, and the hiring process was very quick. By January, he and his family were on a plane from sunny California to Chicago, Illinois.

“The decision was fast, the move was fast, and we had to adjust very quickly,” Kindom said.

And his adjustments were just beginning. A few months after he started, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. His wife and daughter were isolating in their home, and they had virtually no contact with anyone. He was going to work every day, dealing with sickness and death and at the same time worried about bringing the disease home to his family.

Like many people in healthcare, he was exhausted, stressed and unsure what to do in the situation. Patients were dying, and everyone was worried about what was happening.

“During that time, I really asked myself: What about the mission has changed? And the answer was: Nothing,” he said. “For all of history, chaplains have ministered to people through all kinds of sicknesses and other challenges. I had to look back on the legacy of chaplaincy and gain strength from that.”

Kindom also gained strength from knowing he was part of a health care organization that reflected his own beliefs.

“Working at an Adventist, faith-based hospital has promoted and fostered my expression of my faith. It has helped me to express my faith more freely in all its various facets,” he said. “I truly believe that it has empowered me to be more pastoral than I probably could otherwise be.”

He has also realized that being a chaplain is about more than simply having faith. It is about being there for people in their times of need.

“My favorite bible verse is Matthew 25:40: ‘I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’” Kindom said. The pandemic was a time of great service to God’s people. But even as the pandemic has eased, Kindom still finds inspiration in that verse.

“Chaplaincy is a ministry of presence,” he said.

Julie Busch, associate vice president, marketing and communications