Toward a shared ethical identity in Adventist healthcare

Dr. Gerald Winslow speaks at the Adventist Bioethics Conference, during which the Adventist health systems in the U.S. inaugurated the Adventist Bioethics Consortium. Winslow, director of the LLU Center for Christian Bioethics, is coordinating the group.

More than 2,300 years after Aristotle wrote in The Nicomachean Ethics “…the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim,” people still can’t always agree on what is good. Particularly in the emotion-laden field of healthcare, the study of biomedical ethics leads to vastly different conclusions from different experts.

At Loma Linda University Health, the commitment to ethical healthcare and education is guided by its distinctive Christian denomination, the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Sharing this heritage are the four other health systems in the United States also affiliated with the Adventist Church.

Now these five systems are pulling together in a consortium to share bioethics resources and expertise, as well as jointly consider some of today’s most urgent issues of ethics in medicine.

Named the Adventist Bioethics Consortium, the venture is coordinated by Gerald Winslow, PhD, director of Loma Linda University Center for Christian Bioethics.

The other members are Adventist Health System, Kettering Health Network, Adventist Health and Adventist HealthCare. This group comprises some 80 hospitals and 130,000 employees across the United States, making it the second-largest faith-based health system in the country.

“We have rich opportunities for collaboration on bioethical challenges facing this country through the lens of Adventist moral and ethical commitments,” Winslow said.

Bioethics, Loma Linda and Baby Fae

It was a bioethical debate that brought Loma Linda University Health to the forefront of the news cycle in 1984, when pioneer surgeon Leonard Bailey, MD, transplanted a baboon heart into a newborn baby girl who came to be known as Baby Fae, trying to save her…

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