[Eric Herzog; Eric Herzog Photography]

May 31, 2023

The Mission Never Changes

In 1904, the Hinsdale Sanitarium opened its doors with the goal of providing patients with fresh air, sunshine, exercise, pure water, a wholesome diet, and a mind at peace with God and humanity.

When I reflect on this legacy, I can see how these fundamentals of care are still at the core of what we do. We treat the whole person – body, mind and spirit – and we want to teach our communities to be healthy and invite them to feel whole.

As medical advancements are made and technology evolves, we’ll always be here to take care of our communities. Our faith-based hospitals in the Chicago suburbs of Hinsdale, La Grange, Bolingbrook and Glendale Heights have a long legacy of healing. While we’ve seen some changes in the last year, one thing will never change, and that’s our mission of extending the Healing Hinistry of Christ.

Earlier this year, AdventHealth began a new joint venture with UChicago Medicine, one of the nation’s leading academic medical institutions. This new partnership allows us to combine world-class academic capabilities with the best of faith-based community health care, and to expand and develop more high-quality, multidisciplinary services. AdventHealth is managing the daily operations of the hospitals and carrying forward the mission, vision, values and culture, which remain the same.

Just like the vision of the Hinsdale Sanitarium, we want our hospitals to be centers for prevention and wellness. Food and nutrition are integral to healing, preventing, and reversing chronic diseases. This is why we’re sharing this knowledge in our communities and churches by holding cooking and nutrition classes, complete with demonstrations. You can learn more about this work, led by Dr. Jill Jennings, in this issue.

Our Breaking Bread program is also partnering with local churches to help us share the gospel and build relationships while offering a healthy, delicious meal so members can get to know AdventHealth and how we can serve them. Recently, at our local Seventh-day Adventist church in Bolingbrook, we provided a “haystacks” meal.

At each Breaking Bread event, the team from the hospital cafeteria prepares and provides the meal. As part of our commitment to whole-person care, we’re taking a closer look at the food we serve in our hospitals. We’re removing items such as candy and sugary beverages and replacing them with healthy snacks and grab-and-go items. We’ve added a vegetarian and vegan option at all meals and are providing labels with nutritional values so people can make informed choices.

I’m very passionate about eating healthy, and there’s a reason why. Once, when I had my cholesterol checked, it was higher than the ideal levels for health. That was a wake-up call for me. I knew what I needed to do and so I immediately switched from a vegetarian diet to a whole food, plant-based diet. Within nine weeks, without any medications, my cholesterol dropped down to healthier levels.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult or unattainable. We want to provide healthy, great-tasting food and present it well to our patients, like we would do for our own family. That’s how we want both patients and guests to feel. That’s our mission.

Thor Thordarson is President and CEO of UChicago Medicine AdventHealth Great Lakes Region