Inspirational presentations, informative workshops, and the opening of a medical lifestyle center were all part of the fourth ELIA Wellness Summit held on March 24 at the Sydney Adventist Hospital Clinical Education Center in Australia.
The new medicine ELIA Lifestyle Center aims to tackle chronic diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Adventist Health Ministries director Peter Landless delivered a dedication speech for the new center before he and Berowra Member of Parliament Julian Leeser unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion. The board recognizes the late Warwick Bland for his generous donation to establish the center.
“I’m glad to be here today as a supporter of the hospital,” Leeser said as he shared his thoughts on San, including two of his babies born at the hospital. “I can’t just send a lot of comfort and success with the work you are doing with ELIAS.”
ELIA Lifestyle Medicine Center medical director Andrew Matthews said patients have access to lifestyle medicine doctors, dieticians, exercise physiologists, registered nurses, health coaches, and psychological care.
“Establishing a center in a hospital complements the best acute care facility in combating chronic disease,” Matthews said. “We work in close partnership with GPs and specialists, and we also provide resources, expert programs and support to promote chronic disease and wellness.”
Adventist HealthCare CEO Brett Bona said the center will provide patients with the tools they need to take care of their health. “This is about empowering patients, placing them at the center of care, encouraging people to be proactive about how they can improve their health outcomes, the journey of their lives,” he said.
The ELIA Wellness Summit featured a comprehensive program of presentations, workshops, and panel discussions. Attendees came from Fiji, the Cook Islands, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and various parts of Australia. The theme was “Allowing you to Health as a whole person.”
“It was awesome for us to have the fourth ELIA Wellness Summit in person so we could learn and be challenged by the excellent presentations from the top speakers,” said Geraldine Przybylko, executive director of ELIA Wellness and South Pacific Division (SPD) health policy leader. “Also, to network with passionate health professionals and advocates and hear stories of how ELIA Wellness partners, 10,000 Finger Ambassadors, and wellness teams are making a real difference across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific,” he said.
According to Przybylko, the goal is to have 400 chants of strength by 2025, transforming life through the health of the whole person.
At the climax of the conclusion, SPD president Glenn Townend challenged the attendees to use what they have learned to discern in their own lives and in the lives of their communities.
“[Lifestyle medicine] It’s huge in the United States and other parts of the world, and it’s coming to Australia, and we want to be in front of it,” said Townend.
Landless said he was inspired by the summit. “This was really good, there was a lot of information sharing. It was an excellent interview.’