Dr. Ted Hamilton, Adventist Health System senior vice president and chief mission integration officer, spoke about integrating mission into medicine at the conference.

Photos by Jim Svehla

February 5, 2019

Well-Being Conference Helps Physicians Rejuvenate

Bringing Seventh-day Adventist medical professionals together in October to “Reconnect, Renew and Rejuvenate” was the goal of the first Lake Union...

Bringing Seventh-day Adventist medical professionals together in October to “Reconnect, Renew and Rejuvenate” was the goal of the first Lake Union Provider Well-being Conference in Oak Brook, Ill. 


About 25 health care providers and their families from the Lake Union Conference came together professionally, spiritually and for camaraderie during the two-day program. The weekend conference was open to physicians, dentists, optometrists and chiropractors from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. In total, about 50 people attended the event.


It was a full weekend that combined continuing medical education (CME) programs for physicians blended with a spiritual component featuring prayer, praise and reflection, a blessing of health care providers and special music. Physicians had the opportunity to meet other health care professionals, and families had the chance to get acquainted and form new friendships.


“The goal of the conference was to focus on our calling,” said Jason Goliath, M.D., general surgeon and trauma director at AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center Bolingbrook. “The program gave us an opportunity to renew our love for medicine and reconnect with what we love about being a doctor.”


Goliath was among eight medical professionals who served on the planning committee, which began its work in 2017. Thor Thordarson, executive vice president and chief operating officer at AMITA Health, had the vision for this type of well-being program that focused on the importance of physicians caring for themselves and their families. AMITA Health sponsored the conference.


“We do so much work on the business side of medicine — we need to take a step back and return to serving people,” Goliath said. “We need to do things that draw patients to Christ. The message was to ‘go forth, you have a great responsibility and you can affect people in powerful ways.’”


The keynote address by Ted Hamilton, M.D., focused on the healing ministry of Christ and how medical professionals can integrate mission into their practice. Hamilton is chief mission integration officer and senior vice president mission and ministry for Adventist Health System.


Other topics and speakers included:

  • Mental health first aid (William Puga, M.D., chief of Psychiatry, Illinois Department of Corrections)
  • Mission clinics and service opportunities (Randy Griffin, D.D.S, Health Ministries)
  • Healthy vegan diet (Mark Anthony, internationally renowned chef and author)


“The program combined clinical expertise and healthy living with Christianity — helping medical professionals connect on another level,” said Heather Hoffman, regional director, Clinical Mission Integration, AMITA Health, and conference project manager. “We’ve had overwhelmingly positive results from a survey of the program’s participants and we have started planning the next conference for October.”


“Physicians who are spiritually healthy are better physicians,” said Meechai Tessalee, M.D., interventional cardiologist, AMITA Health Medical Group Heart and Vascular, and a planning committee member. “Part of this involves reconnecting with the Bible, our religious foundation.”


Tessalee said physicians do their work day in and day out, and it becomes routine. “We forget who we really are as individuals when taking care of patients,” he said. “The conference reminded us of our identity — one that shares a common goal and belief system of which sharing Christ’s love through healing is a cornerstone.”


For questions about the conference, contact Heather.Hoffman2@amitahealth.org.


Music and reflection were an important component of the conference.
Music and reflection were an important component of the conference.