Hope through adversity: Lessons to remember as we reflect on the past year and the impact of COVID-19

March 17, 2021


Adversity helps us to learn much about ourselves. As we approach the one-year anniversary of the shutdown of much of the world due to COVID-19, we all find ourselves reflecting on where we were and what we experienced as life rapidly started to change. Suddenly, our time, resources and focus all shifted from ongoing operations to protecting our team and patients from an unfamiliar life-threatening virus. It all felt eerily similar to my time as a nursing student caring for AIDS patients in the beginning days of that epidemic, with so many questions and so few answers about how the virus spread and how it was best prevented and treated.

Thanks to the dedication of our leaders, clinical response team, and most importantly, Adventist Health affiliated physicians, nurses and associates on the front lines, we passionately carried out our mission to live God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope during a time of crisis. The selflessness, courage and commitment of our own, and the millions of healthcare providers across the nation and world, cannot be overstated as we reflect on the immeasurable changes and significant loss brought on by COVID-19.

But it’s also important to consider the many positive ways we responded, the lessons learned in resilience and what we can take from this experience that will make us stronger. The disruption caused by this public health pandemic has prompted rapid change and innovation for good.

Adventist Health was already in the midst of our own fundamental transformation from a healthcare company to a health company, as seen with our acquisition of Blue Zones® and the bold step of launching Adventist Health’s Well-Being Division. During a time of great uncertainty, one thing was clear: The work we were investing in well-being – and meaningfully impacting communities – had become timelier and more important than we could have ever imagined.

Throughout this crisis, we were also able to rapidly realize innovation to patient care. A prime example was our ability to quickly expand the use of telehealth technology to meet people where they are and eliminate barriers to care, through both virtual medical office visits and Adventist Health Hospital@Home stays.

It’s been a long year. And now as we approach an anniversary that none of us will celebrate, I am enormously proud of how our organization responded to challenges that position us for the healthcare needs of the future. Hope is on the horizon, and as we look forward, we can’t neglect to look back on the ways this last year has strengthened our resolve, pushed innovation and reinforced the urgency of our work to invest in the well-being of our own and the individuals and communities we serve.

Scott Reiner, CEO