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Health Network Nurses Represent Union at Global Health Conference

By Beth Michaels

Approximately 600 health and spiritual care providers from the Seventh-day Adventist Church and other faith-based organizations from around other world converged recently at Geneva University in Switzerland for the four-day Global Health Conference on Health and Lifestyle. More than 600 international attendees discussed their role in supporting the health behavioral outcomes of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other national and international organizations.

Mornings at the conference were devoted to plenary sessions with speakers from WHO, the United Nations, the Pan American Health Organization, the Adventist Church, and many others. Afternoons offered more than 15 interactive seminars on many issues for various specialty areas of health practice. One venue for the meetings was Saleve Adventist University, located across the border in France.

Two health professionals from the Columbia Union’s two health networks represented the union at the conference. Chris VanDenburgh, BSN, RN, the coordinator of faith community nursing and health ministry for Kettering Adventist HealthCare based in Dayton, Ohio, helped give presentations focusing on faith community nursing. Katia Reinert, MSN, RN, a health ministry clinical supervisor/faith community nursing coordinator for Adventist HealthCare based in Rockville, Md., presented seminars on mental/emotional health—depression, anxiety and other mental and emotional disorders impacting women.

The conference gave health organizations the chance to “discuss the evidence on lifestyle change and health, and how it can not only reduce health risks, but also bring whole person health and healing to many in need of restoration,” explains Reinert, a member of the Capital Brazilian church in Highland, Md. “It was an effort to implement disease prevention and health promotion at the local church level with the goal of bringing restoration and improving the health of individuals, families, and entire communities.”

VanDenburgh, a Kettering (Ohio) church member, agrees, adding, “This was not only an honor, but a wonderful opportunity to expand our experiences in faith community nursing and to represent Kettering Adventist HealthCare and the Columbia Union at this historic event. It also opened a door for the Adventist Church to serve in a larger capacity in the world of global health service.”