By Courtney Beckwith - October 23, 2014

More than 180 Hospital administration from thirty-three different Seventh-day Adventist Hospitals from around the world joined together in Loma Linda, CA this week to learn from each other at the third annual Global Healthcare Conference.

The response from attendees? This conference was by far the best one yet and the reason was because of the opportunity attendees had to fellowship and interact with one another.

Many participants emphasized the fact that this is one time they all have to come together and collaborate on similar successes and failures that they can use to learn from each other. No matter where they are in the world, their problems are similar and it is helpful to be able to join together in a place where they can openly discuss their problems and help formulate practical solutions. 

Olen Netteburg, a deferred mission appointee (DMA) serving as the medical director at Bere Adventist Hospital in Chad said, “I enjoy getting to meet new people and interact and this year there was a lot of that. I especially enjoyed this conference because I was able to bring a few people with me from Chad that were able to learn about some of the very issues we have been struggling with at our site.”

According to Cheryl Lake, missions program coordinator of the event; the topics chosen this year were picked because they were achievable and practical.

“We tried to provide skills that they can implement while they are here and then continue to use once they have returned to their hospital sites,” Lake said.

The conference began on Thursday, Oct. 16 and progressed until the final day, Monday, Oct. 20. With full days focused on the theme of, “Embracing the Future.” The events featured vespers programs, presentation days, and visits to the President of Loma Linda University Health (LLUH) Richard Hart’s, DrPH, house, as well as shopping opportunities. 

“This conference is so wonderful,” Cenaida Pannefleck CEO of Antillean Adventist Hospital in Curacao, said. “Our hospital is struggling but I come here and I talk to people and listen and learn that all over the world, they are experiencing the same things or worse. It lets me know that we are all in this together and all we can do is pray and try harder.”

In terms the topics covered, the conference went in a different direction from past years. This year the focus was on providing information that could be implemented in every hospital setting. This “single-track” focus allowed for consistency between what all of the hospitals were learning together.

“We tried to have sessions where they could begin to implement their work, the things that they were learning because often when a conference is over, you learn a lot but either you don’t have time to implement it or you just might not have understood it as well. So this time the focus was to get people to implement it while they are here,” Lake said. “I think it has been really positive and I’ve seen people talking amongst themselves and it is really great to see the interaction of the people.”