Thursday, August 8, marked a momentous occasion that has been more than a decade in the making. The doors of Adventist Health Care’s brand-new White Oak Medical Center(WOMC) were opened. Special guests, including Seventh-day Adventist World Church president Ted N.C. Wilson, filled the lobby for the long-anticipated dedication ceremony.
Erik Wangsness, president of WOMC said, “We’ve worked on building a hospital for years. And to see it filled with music, with colleagues, with family was very powerful and emotional. It’s a special day because of that.”
History and Reflection of Mission
“Although there have been numerous name changes leading up to this point, the mission has remained the same – extending God’s care through the ministry of physical, mental, and spiritual healing,” CEO of Adventist Healthcare, Terry Ford, stated.
White Oak Medical Center, originally named Washington Sanitarium by Adventist Church co-founder, Ellen G. White in 1907, was the 13th sanitarium started by the Adventist Church. About a century later, Adventist Healthcare, has transformed a 472,000-square-foot building into a state-of-the-art 170 private-room hospital.
“Acquiring the permission to construct was a long journey”, explains Wangsness, “It took ten years to even acquire the “certificate of need”, which states that building the hospital would be in the best interest of the general public. However, the visionaries behind the project would not be deterred and persisted until the building process was underway.”
A primary benefit of the hospital’s location is the connection to nature. From the cafeteria, visitors are able to contemplate the lake and white oak trees surrounding it. This view provides context to the naming of the White Oak community, where the hospital derived its name.
One of the main objectives of the new White Oak Medical Center is to create a healing environment. Since nature plays such an integral part in the healing process, most of the artwork in the hospital includes nature-inspired themes. Hospital leadership are also transparent about their Seventh-day Adventist identity. This translates into spiritual concepts that can be seen in the artwork decorating the hospital.
The White Oak Medical Center is in close proximity to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) headquarters. The FDA is a federal agency responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety and efficacy of drugs, biological products, and medical devices.
With the new White Oak Medical Center conveniently located close to major highways, there is a better overall access for the community. It’s easy to reach by metro or by car and there’s a lot more parking available. Being less than a mile from the General Conference, the World Headquarters of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, it can extend care to visitors from countries all around the globe. Depending on the need, leaders are certain there is room to expand in the next decade.
“Through the years, we have been blessed to help many in our community with our quality care and compassion,” said Forde, president and CEO of Adventist HealthCare. “That will remain at the core of what we do as we extend our mission at White Oak Medical Center.”