Ministering to man's social needs means reaching out to serve the community. Thus, the many University outreach programs and similar programs offered by other Adventist hospitals around the world are an essential part of the healing ministry of the church's service, a demonstration of Christian brotherhood. Jesus, the supreme Example, "went about doing good."a An institution that calls itself Christian should be expected to touch humanity with His love.
The University's Social Action Community Clinics (SACC) were founded in 1968 by a group of medical students. Recently SACC has expanded to become SAC Health System (SACHS). It is now a group of primary care medical clinics offering much needed healthcare services to medically underserved families in several communities surrounding Loma Linda. SACHS serves as an invaluable resource to the county health department by providing low-cost medical care to families who otherwise might go without.
In early 1995 SACHS opened a full-service healthcare facility at the clinic operated by the former Norton Air Force Base. The facility is located just three miles from the University campus and adjacent to a major low-cost housing district where many SACHS patients live.
Services include primary and specialty medical and dental care; nursing, psychosocial, and allied health services; well-child services, nutrition, and health education. SACHS also offers special community programs addressing life-style and nutrition, smoking cessation, alcohol and drug abuse, and violence.
SACHS offers low-cost medical services to clients of all ages. Many services such as physical examinations and immunizations are free for children, if their families are of limited finances. Through the years, SACHS has earned the confidence of the community and become the "court of last resort" in healthcare for thousands of local residents.
Many students and health professionals volunteer their time and services at SACHS. There are numerous opportunities at SACHS for students to volunteer or to work on class projects focusing on areas such as health education, nutrition, environmental health, biostatistics, and minority health issues.
Many of the professional schools at Loma Linda University have committed to participate in the development of an interdisciplinary primary care training center in the Norton facility. Each school bases faculty and students at the facility to provide students with cross-cultural community training in providing low cost healthcare.
Students for International Medical Service (SIMS) began about the same time SACHS was formed. It originally was designed to provide a forum for senior medical students to share clinical experiences received in foreign settings.
In 1985 SIMS was reorganized with a change of name to provide mission opportunities for students in all schools of the University. The "new" SIMS (Students for International Mission Service) began organizing medical/dental mission trips during winter and spring breaks to Brazil; the Cayman Islands; Honduras; Mexico; and La Vida Mission, Arizona. Long-term summer mission trips (three weeks to three months) have taken students and advisors to Africa, Central and South America, Asia, the Caribbean, and the Orient.
A continuing service provided by the organization are the once-a-month weekend clinics held near Ensenada, Mexico. Groups of about 20 students and appropriate faculty provide medical and dental services along with health education puppet shows to villagers and children, usually patients waiting to be seen by the medical and dental staff. Topics include oral hygiene, a visit to the doctor, nutrition, and sanitation. The groups experience Christian service in a new and challenging environment and return to Loma Linda spiritually blessed.
One of the more local activities of SIMS is the Adopt-a-Kid Christmas party for underprivileged children in the area. Students from the various schools sign up to adopt children for an evening of entertainment, crafts, Santa Claus, and gifts.
SIMS is staffed by a director, but is assisted by five student officers, a valuable asset to the functioning of this organization. Student officers provide youthful enthusiasm, creative thinking and solutions to problems, and are the best means of public relations among their peers. Through the student officers (who are their representatives) the LLU student body can claim the SIMS organization as their own and can make it reflect their healthcare mission "to make man whole."
The enthusiasm of the students seems to fuel the momentum of SIMS. Each year the number of SIMS participants grows, with 256 students participating in 18 countries in 2004. The students benefit from cross-cultural interaction, participate in healthcare services provided with a multidisciplinary team approach, and experience compassion in action. The most frequently heard expression by participants is, "I went to give, but received so much more than I gave."
International Heart Surgery Team
The Loma Linda University Overseas Heart Surgery Team is a highly specialized group of heart surgery experts that has performed surgery in Pakistan, India, Thailand, Taiwan, Greece, South Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, China, and Nepal. Founded in 1963 by Ellsworth E. Wareham, M.D. (Class of 1942), and C. Joan Coggin, M.D. (Class of 1953), it has performed more heart surgeries in more countries than has any similar organization.
The plan of the heart surgery team has been to go to countries where heart surgery has rarely, if ever, been performed. The team includes all the specialists and technologists required for the most delicate surgery, including cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, laboratory technicians, respiratory therapists, and heart-lung machine technicians. The team takes with them all essential equipment--sutures, medications, instruments, valves, a spare electricity generator--everything down to the last swab, except the operating table and patients' beds. Surgery success is equal to that in the best surgery centers in the United States.
By careful prearrangement, each member of a similar medical group from the local country works side-by-side with his or her American counterpart, learning not only the different technical skills and roles but also the teamwork required. These successful new teams have been heartily appreciated by local patients and governments.
The China Doctor
Perhaps one of the most colorful international figures in Seventh-day Adventist medicine was Harry W. Miller, M.D. A 1902 graduate of AMMC, Miller spent a half-century in China, under difficult circumstances, to improve the health of China's millions. In the preface to China Doctor, his biography of Miller, Dr. Raymond S. Moore said, "Here was a brilliant physician who, at twenty-three, had given up a promising instructorship and practice in one of America's medical schools for service under ominous circumstances in a suspicious, even mysterious land.... He turned his back on a quarter-million-dollar inheritance to live primitively with oriental people on a few cents a day....
"He served his own nation broadly, including work with the American Relief Administration headed by Herbert Hoover. Jack of many trades and master of some, Harry Miller was also consulting physician to two presidents of the United States--Taft and Wilson. He treated nearly every important ruler of China from the founding of the Republic, not to mention unnumbered ambassadors, senators, and princes of invention and industry around the world. Yet he regarded these accomplishments simply as doorways to greater service--the uplift of the underprivileged, the feeding of the famished, and the tender healing of the unfortunate sick.''1
Soon after completing his medical internship, Miller and his wife Maude, also a graduate of AMMC, left for China as medical missionaries. They were accompanied by two nurses and by Arthur Selmon and his wife Bertha, both of whom were also physicians. In those days missionaries had to pay for their own transportation. As soon as they arrived, the missionaries began learning Chinese and adopting Chinese dress and customs. Miller and Selmon even shaved their heads and grew queues--long pigtails (though they had to settle for pigtail wigs at first), much to the initial dismay of their wives.
Soon they were traveling the primitive dirt (or mud) roads through China in an oxcart, on foot, or (in later years) in a noisy old broken-down Dodge. Miller and Selmon became adept at outtalking bandits, the traveler's plague. But once, while pulling supplies down a river on a bamboo raft, bandits attacked Selmon and his coolies, wounding all of them. It was only through his coolies' loyal intervention that Selmon's life was spared.
Miller had been traveling with Selmon but had taken a shortcut while on his way to replenish their supplies. Hearing of the attack, Miller ran several miles to find Selmon in great pain with an arm injury and his Chinese helpers with gashes on their arms, sides, and faces. As quickly as he could, Miller sewed up their wounds. Just then messengers arrived with an urgent request for medical help. A missionary's wife in a nearby village was very sick. Miller was exhausted, but since Selmon was wounded, Miller decided to go alone. Before leaving, Miller told Selmon that if he did not return in 24 hours, Selmon and the others should travel on without him.
As it turned out, the woman's condition was not serious, and soon Miller was ready to return to his party. Delayed by slippery paths and pouring rains, he did not reach the river in time. And so, only months after his arrival in China, Miller found himself alone, wet, hungry, bone tired. As he stood wondering what to do, he was suddenly accosted by two soldiers who arrested him and marched him off to the district magistrate for questioning. Satisfied that Miller was simply trying to catch up with his partner, the magistrate gave Miller a good meal from his own table and his choicest accommodations. Although grateful, he was less than comfortable. He was surrounded by opium-smoking guests, and his eyes and nostrils stung from the fumes.
The next morning eight bearers carried Miller with great ceremony on the magistrate's private sedan chair. As the strange procession jogged across the country and through villages trying to locate Selmon, entire populations turned out to pay obeisance and to offer greetings and refreshments to the VIP in the shaded sedan chair.
Naturally Selmon was surprised and delighted when Miller's flamboyant procession caught up with him. Years later Miller traveled on a Boeing transport plane that belonged to Marshal Chang Hsueh-liang and in special trains furnished by Chiang Kai-shek, the ruler of China. But he told friends that his most delightful journey had been his trip in the sedan chair.
Returning home was always a thrilling experience for the young missionaries. The heroism of the wives, Maude Miller and Bertha Selmon--almost completely isolated from the rest of the world--was known only to God. With all the hazards of travel--bandits, accidents, and illness--the women never knew when or whether their husbands would return.
After only 17 months in China, Maude Miller was stricken with a mysterious disease. Nevertheless, she insisted on serving her patients at the dispensary. While her husband was on an extended trip, Maude became so weak that she could not walk. Even from her bedside, her body wasting away with a terminal illness, Maude continued ministering to her Chinese outpatients.
Finally, on March 14, 1905, the disease overwhelmed her. Grief-stricken, Miller and the Selmons followed the pine-box coffin as the mission compound's Chinese helpers carried the young woman to her grave. She was only 25.
Ignoring the pleas of his parents to return to the United States, Miller plunged more deeply into his responsibilities. Without his wife, he felt helpless. His only respite and source of strength was the time he spent in prayer from day to day beside the mound of dirt where Maude was buried.
Before long Miller was making new plans. He worked alone for two years as physician, printer, teacher, cook, administrator, builder, author, editor, businessman, and researcher. Eventually Miller returned to the United States for a time and became the medical director of the Washington Sanitarium [now Washington Adventist Hospital] near Washington, D.C. There he treated some of the nation's political leaders. He gave back to the hospital all of his fees, up to $50,000 a year, to supplement the institution's charity budget. But the call of China was overpowering.
While in the States, Miller had remarried. He and his second wife, Marie, returned to China and built a new sanitarium in Shanghai. There Miller and his fellow workers reached the most influential Chinese. One of Miller's patients was Madame Soong, the wife of Soong Yao Ju (known in America as Charles Jones Soong), one of the most influential Chinese at that time. Madame Soong helped Miller start a Seventh-day Adventist publishing house on the Soong compound. One of the Soong daughters, an intelligent girl named Mei-ling, loved to play in the yard of the publishing house. She later married an army officer named Chiang Kai-shek.
Not satisfied with the extent of his labors, Miller wanted to push into the wilds of Manchuria and Mongolia. While soliciting funds for a new hospital, Miller was called before "the Young Marshal," Chang Hsueh-liang, ruler of Manchuria. "How much money do you need?" asked the Marshal.
"Thirty thousand dollars," came the cautious reply. The Young Marshal responded by giving Miller $100,000 and all the land he wanted in the large, beautiful memorial park in Mukden, the capital of Manchuria, where, until that time, no building had been permitted.
Although generous and concerned about the health of his people, the Young Marshal was an opium addict. His condition deteriorated until his aides feared for his life. They called in Dr. Miller and asked him to administer his famous opium cure. Miller agreed, on condition that he have absolute authority over and above any command issued by the Young Marshal or his aides during the treatment. It was a wise arrangement, because at one point during the long, painful ordeal, the Young Marshal ordered Miller's execution by firing squad. "This means we are making progress," replied Miller.
The Young Marshal recovered fully. In gratitude, he presented Miller with a check for $50,000, in addition to the small Sanitarium fee for the opium cure. At the time, Miller's salary was only $25 a week, but he used the check to build a new hospital at Lanchow. Some time later the Young Marshal built a Seventh-day Adventist Sanitarium in Hankow, providing the land, funds for building the sanitarium, and an operating subsidy. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek added $100,000 to the fund. Later Madame Chiang Kai-shek built a $20,000 residence on the grounds, where she stayed when she came for treatments.
Over the years Miller established 20 hospitals in the Far East including 18 in what is now The People's Republic of China (still in operation, "under new management," as Miller put it) and two in Hong Kong. The "China Doctor" was known in the Far East as "the White Chinaman."
On two occasions Miller held China's balance of power in his hands--once as an intermediary between Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and his kidnapper, the Young Marshal. And on several occasions, during the Japanese invasion, Miller was an intercessor for the Chinese and saved thousands of lives. Once, 20,000 Chinese refugees found sanctuary inside the American compound of the Wuhan Sanitarium and Hospital. Miller had painted the Stars and Stripes across the roof of the Sanitarium and the nearby Hankow clinic. Thus they survived more than 400 Japanese air raids.
On March 26, 1956, Miller was decorated with Nationalist China's highest honor, the Order of the Brilliant Blue Star, by President Chiang Kai-shek himself. The award can be compared with the United States Congressional Medal of Honor.
But perhaps Miller's most notable achievement was in the field of nutrition. Because of his instruction under John Harvey Kellogg, M.D., at AMMC, Miller had always been interested in prevention as well as cure. When he saw thousands of Chinese mothers every year losing their babies because of allergies and nutritional deficiencies, he felt compelled to do something. He soon developed a kind of milk from the soybean, a nonallergenic, high-protein drink ideal for babies as well as for adults. Miller invented the process and machinery for creating "soy milk," which was eventually approved by the American Medical Association. Today "soy milk" benefits thousands of babies around the world.
During his half-century of service in the Far East, Harry Miller experienced a broad spectrum of Chinese life. He once lived in a Manchu "beggar's den" in Sinyang--a three-walled hut open to rain, mosquitos, and lice. He was apparently comfortable anywhere. He could perform delicate emergency surgery in the middle of a field to prevent bugs and leaves from falling on his surgery "theater."
Miller was recognized as one of the leading goiter specialists in the world and is credited with performing more thyroidectomies than any other surgeon. By eliminating digitalis as the standard drug therapy, he facilitated the reduction of fatalities of postoperative thyroid patients from over 50 percent to less than one percent.
Miller's famous patients included inventor Alexander Graham Bell; U. S. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan; the wife of the first President of the Republic of China, Madame Sun Yat-sen; the Young Marshal Chang Hsueh-liang, the ruler of Manchuria; Premier Wang Ching-wei; the President of Nationalist China, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek; Madame Chiang Kai-shek; and United States Presidents William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson. His medical ministry carried him all over the world. It was one of the widest ranging, most significant medical practices in history. Clarence Hall, Senior Editor of Reader's Digest, compared Miller with David Livingstone "whose dedicated skills indelibly marked the maps with Christian humanitarianism throughout the world's far places."2 Philanthropist, research scientist, nutritionist, diplomat, physician to peasants and presidents, Dr. Harry W. Miller died on January 1, 1977, at the age of 97.
The church in its philosophy and practice of the healing arts has inherited a rich legacy from the inspired health counsels of Scripture and Ellen White; from the example and faith of the early Advent believers; from the innovative genius of physicians like John Harvey Kellogg, Harry Miller, and their colleagues, who blazed a trail through a wilderness of medical folklore and quackery; and from the major contributions Loma Linda University has made to world medicine.
Most of the health professionals who staff the church's 725 medical institutions are graduates of the church's worldwide educational system. They serve on every continent--from America, Asia, and Australia to Zaire, Zululand, and Zurich...from simmering jungles to frigid tundra. They serve in hospitals, clinics, leprosariums, schools, villages, cities...as nurses, health educators, teachers, administrators, technicians, dentists, physicians...traveling by car, riverboat, amphibian aircraft, private plane, motorcycle, bicycle, even afoot. Knowing the struggles of the Adventist pioneers, they strive to equal their resourcefulness and determination. They seek to share God's loving plan to restore man to total health. Some have shared at the cost of their own lives, counting it a small sacrifice beside that of the Great Physician who left heaven and came to earth to make man whole.
An Unbeatable Combination
On September 5, 1866, the first Seventh-day Adventist healthcare facility, the Western Health Reform Institute (later the Battle Creek Sanitarium) opened to the public. On September 5, 1966, United States President Lyndon B. Johnson flew to Battle Creek, Michigan, to participate in its centennial celebration, commemorating 100 years of Seventh-day Adventist healthcare. At the end of the centennial celebration week, on September 11, 1966, American Medical Association President Charles L. Hudson, M.D., delivered a speech entitled, "Medicine and Religion, an Unbeatable Combination."
Ironically, it had been this same combination of medicine and religion that nearly had prevented the founding of the church-operated medical school in Loma Linda. The school's leaders had been told that the AMA was not prepared to recognize a church-operated school of medicine nor to accept noble principles of service in place of proper facilities for a medical school. Yet those struggling to establish the school found in Scripture those general counsels and, in the messages given through Ellen White, those timely and specific counsels that gave them the faith to overcome every obstacle. George I. Butler, longtime president of the church, attributed the success of the organization and its medical work to following these instructions. He wrote, "We have found in a long, varied, and in some instances, sad experience the value of their counsel. When we have heeded them, we have prospered. When we have slighted them, we have suffered a great loss."
Ellen White herself, speaking of the results of following God's counsels, said, "In reviewing our past history...I can say, Praise God! As I see what the Lord has wrought, I am filled with astonishment, and with confidence in Christ as leader. We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us...in our past history."4
In a way, the Legacy is a beginning. The book ends here, but the story continues. Thousands of men and women around the world, this very moment....