November 2014 Feature: Carousels, Concerts and Clubs

November 2014 Feature: Carousels, Concerts and Clubs

Our health systems find creative ways to engage their communities, but their mission remains the same: to treat the whole patient—mind, body and spirit

Story by Taashi Rowe/ Cover Photography by Paul Morigi/AP Images

We don’t treat leukemia in our hospitals,” says Chaplain Larry Kositsin. It’s an odd statement for someone who works at Kettering Adventist HealthCare (KAHC), one of the largest hospital systems in southwest Ohio. Add to that, in recent years, Thomson Reuters named KAHC one of the nation’s top 10 healthcare systems three times. • Kositsin, who is based at the system’s flagship facility, Kettering Medical Center (KMC) in Kettering, explains, “We treat the person. There are several things we consider when a patient comes to us. One of those things is how is the procedure going to give them back their future? We want to give them hope—immediate hope and ultimate hope.”

Michelle Dawes found hope and comfort during a successful gallbladder surgery at KMC in August. Her grandmother passed away just before Dawes was admitted. “I couldn’t be at the funeral because I was obviously in the hospital,” she recalls. “My boyfriend, Mike, was with me. He knew I was upset that I couldn’t go to the funeral. It was a Friday evening and we were getting settled in a private room when he said, ‘Listen.’ At first there was soft singing that got louder and louder. It was ‘Amazing Grace.’ I said to Mike, ‘This is real, right?’ They played that same song at my grandmother’s funeral that day. And then, Mike looked out the window and saw a rainbow. We were both so deeply touched.”

What Dawes and her boyfriend heard was a group from various local Seventh-day Adventist churches that sing for patients on Friday evenings. “Outside of what I was physically going through, those singers coming through the hallways was such a special thing to me,” Dawes shares.


Kettering Adventist HealthCare staff praying

Kettering Adventist HealthCare staff praying

Making Positive Impressions

Staff members across Kettering’s eight hospitals and 90 outpatient facilities hear stories like Dawes’ every day because the healthcare system is intentional about treating the whole patient. “Positive impressions are made by creating patient experiences that give hope and healing when people need it most,” states Fred Manchur, CEO of KAHC. “Our mission to improve the lives of those we serve is sacred work. We can make a difference in our community by making a positive impression.”

It also puts staff at all levels of these Adventist-run facilities in a position where they can work to fulfill the gospel mission in a medical setting. Kettering has an extensive menu of services to heal the whole patient. In addition to making spiritual literature easily available to patients, there are 10 chaplains, an annual Week of Prayer, a prayer phone line and they distribute a prayer booklet to patients at all their facilities. Since the booklets have been so popular, KAHC has taken it one step further and partnered with local Adventist churches to fulfill the hundreds of Bible study requests they’ve received.

For Dave Weigley, president of the Columbia Union Conference and board chair of both healthcare systems inside the union—KAHC and Adventist HealthCare (AHC) based in Gaithersburg, Md.—the connection between physical and spiritual healing is clear. “We’re very intentional about expressing the Adventist mission of hope and wholeness to people. We are not about just healing the body but … the entire person,” he says. “This mission, as Adventists, makes us uniquely different than other healthcare systems.”

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