Summit empowers attendees to improve the health of their communities

SIM Honiara satellite event: people from the back watching the presentations.

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People from across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific were equipped with the latest in lifestyle medicine strategies and research during the third ELIA Wellness Summit conducted from October 15 to 17. More than 190 individuals attended the online event, and another 120 attended two satellite events run simultaneously in Honiara and at Atoifi Hospital in the Solomon Islands Mission.

A third satellite event at Pacific Adventist University (PAU) with 80 attendees expected had to be postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The program featured a team of researchers and clinicians from Australia, New Zealand, America and the Pacific Islands who shared their expertise, presenting a range of cutting-edge lifestyle medicine topics.

“We seek to create and promote evidence-based, accessible resources and training in lifestyle medicine, that will inspire and empower people to bring health, healing and hope to their communities. It was great to see that 95 per cent of participants felt more educated and equipped to do this,” said ELIA Wellness executive director Geraldine Przybylko.

The Atoifi Hospital satellite event.

Attendees learned about how lifestyle medicine can be used to improve immunity during the COVID-19 pandemic, the relation between spirituality and wellbeing, the best diet for diabetes, the impact of food on the gut microbiome and much more.

“The presentations were world class standard, and we have been inspired and challenged to make positive changes in our own lives as we also seek to impact the church during these challenging times,” said Solomon Islands Mission President, Dr. Silent Tovosia. “There was much interest generated in the group discussions,” he added.

“I was blessed to be part of the program. The presenters gave presentations based on research, which made them very powerful. It was good to see the many resources that ELIA have on their website—resources that local communities can use,” said Trans Pacific Union Mission president Pastor Maveni Kaufononga.

“It was just good to see our Adventist communities standing together in an endeavour to make a difference in the health of our communities,” he added.

In the summit, it was shared that, despite COVID-19, more than 700 programs were held connecting people virtually and face-to-face. “We want to thank our 342 ELIA Partners who rose to the challenge in difficult times and were willing to help others when they needed it most,” Ms Przybylko said.

Another key feature of the program was the 10,000 Toes campaign, an Adventist Health initiative that has been growing across the Pacific with 3616 ambassadors educated and equipped to help combat diabetes and other non-communicable diseases.

“The 10,000 Toes campaign is the main wellness strategy in the Pacific. It is about turning the tide on diabetes,” explained South Pacific Division (SPD) president Pastor Glenn Townend.

“This lifestyle disease can be prevented, managed, and in some instances reversed by implementing a healthy lifestyle. We learnt plenty of good tips at the Wellness Summit to help us implement positive lifestyle change so we can live our best life”.

“I am so thankful for the 10,000 Toes project as it is having a great impact in our Union,” said Pastor Kaufononga.

For those who missed the summit, selected videos will soon be made available at a discounted rate. For more information, contact Dr. Christiana Leimena at christiana@eliawellness.com.

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