Developing skilled professionals who live the healing values of Christ is the mission motto of AdventHealth University (AHU). Its development was one of the important steps the University took to align itself more closely with its corporate parent, AdventHealth (formerly Florida Hospital and Adventist Health System), whose mission is to extend the healing ministry of Christ.
AHU believes that when graduates extend these values to others, they can measurably improve the mental, physical, and spiritual vitality of the communities they serve. With AdventHealth’s increased focus on whole-person care, AHU’s motto provides a framework where the University can equip and prepare future healthcare professionals to care for the whole person. Approximately 80 percent of AHU graduates work in AdventHealth’s network of care, where they practice whole-person care and extend the healing ministry of Christ.
“As our students graduate and are employed by the system, we feel it is incumbent upon us as AdventHealth’s University to impart to our students a deep understanding of Christ’s healing values, so they are equipped to extend his healing ministry,” said Edwin I. Hernández, Ph.D., AHU’s president.
To this end, the University has defined 17 healing values chosen from the life and teachings of Jesus and based on passages from the Bible, including healing with compassion, healing with faith and hope, healing as you would for yourself, and more. These principles are interwoven at all levels of the institution, from the curriculum that incorporates the ideologies of CREATION Health, to the focus on service to the community, and the learning outcomes that include aspects of treating individuals with care, respect, and dignity.
Students are required to take certain courses that will help them learn, practice, and embody these healing values as they progress from school into their careers. One course, Biblical Perspectives: Lessons on Living, is an example of how AHU’s curriculum bridges biblical values into real-world applications, so that students see how Christ’s teachings are present in everyday life. Zdravko Stefanovic, Ph.D., has taught this course for more than five years, and describes it as teaching “practical biblical wisdom” and focusing on the “art of living a good life.”
His course covers several books of the Bible, including the books of Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and others. However, his exams are nontraditional. Rather than end the semester with a standardized test, he directs students to choose an addiction meeting to go and observe. Then they write a reflection that connects this experience with what they’ve learned in the course.
The University’s “Garden of Miracles” occupies the center of campus, and serves as a daily visual reminder of its mission. It includes seven glass monoliths that stretch 14 feet tall, each with a stylized depiction of a miracle performed by Jesus. From the raising of Lazarus to healing the lepers, and even to the calming of the storm, each monolith is a reminder that Christ can make whole what was once broken in mind, body, and spirit.
“The missions of the University and AdventHealth are complimentary, and work in perfect alignment,” explained Lonnie Mixon, vice president for marketing, public relations, and enrollment services. “You could say that AHU is where whole-person care begins.”
| January 2019