Inspiring presentations, informative workshops, and the opening of a lifestyle medicine center were all part of the fourth ELIA Wellness Summit held during the weekend of March 24–26, 2023, at Sydney Adventist Hospital’s Clinical Education Centre.
The new ELIA Lifestyle Medicine Centre is aimed at tackling chronic diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Dr. Peter Landless, General Conference Health Ministries director, offered a dedicatory prayer for the new center before he and Julian Leeser, Berowra Member of Parliament, unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion. The plaque acknowledges the late Warwick Bland for his generous donation to establish the center.
“I’m delighted to be here today as a supporter of the hospital,” said Leeser, who shared positive sentiments about Sydney Adventist Hospital (nicknamed “the San”), including that his two young children were born at the hospital. “I can only issue lots of encouragement and success with the work that you are doing with ELIA.”
Dr. Andrea Matthews, ELIA Lifestyle Medicine Centre medical director, said patients will have access to lifestyle medicine physicians, dieticians, exercise physiologists, registered nurses, health coaches, and psychology care.
“Establishing the center at the hospital complements the excellent acute-care facility in combating chronic disease,” Dr. Matthews said. “We work in close partnership with the patient’s GPs and specialists and provide additional expert resources, programs, and support to address chronic disease and promote wellness.”
Brett Goods, Adventist HealthCare CEO, said the center will provide patients with the tools they need to take control of their health. “This is about empowering patients, placing them at the center of care, encouraging people to take an active interest in how they can improve their health outcomes, their life journey,” he said.
The ELIA Wellness Summit featured a comprehensive program of presentations, workshops, and panel discussions. Attendees came from Fiji, Cook Islands, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, and various parts of Australia. The theme was “Empowering you to whole-person health.”
“It was awesome to have our fourth ELIA Wellness Summit in person so we could learn and be challenged by excellent presentations from top speakers, but also network with passionate health professionals and advocates and hear stories of how the ELIA Wellness Partners, 10,000 Toes Ambassadors, and wellness hubs are making a real difference right across Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific,” said Dr. Geraldine Przybylko, executive director of ELIA Wellness and South Pacific Division (SPD) health strategy leader. “Our goal is to have 400 wellness hubs by 2025 transforming lives through whole-person health.”
At the conclusion of the summit, Pastor Glenn Townend, SPD president, challenged attendees to use what they have learned to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of their communities. “[Lifestyle medicine] is huge in the United States and other parts of the world, and it is coming to Australia, and we want to be at the forefront of it,” Pastor Townend said.
Dr. Landless said he was inspired by the summit. “It was really good, cutting-edge information that was shared. It was an outstanding conference,” he said.
The original version of this story was posted on the South Pacific Division’s news website, Adventist Record.