One-hundred and fifty years ago, Seventh-day Adventist healthcare was founded with the opening of the Western Health Reform Institute in Battle Creek, Michigan. Later, it became known as the Battle Creek Sanitarium and was the first of many healthcare facilities to be built by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Sanitarium and health pioneers who managed it were unique to their time. Patients were taught to exercise daily, eat a healthful diet, rest, maintain good hygiene and take in plenty of fresh air. Although typical of modern day healthcare, this regimen was revolutionary in 1866 when common treatments involved inhaling smoke, ingesting health tonics from harmful substances, and painful procedures that would be deemed inhumane by today’s standards.

Under the direction of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, who later became famous for inventing Kellogg’s Corn Flakes with his brother, Will Keith Kellogg, patients who were ill or injured received innovative, whole-person care while also learning about healthy living through classes and lectures. As the Sanitarium’s popularity grew, it attracted thousands of patients throughout the years including famous historical figures such as Henry Ford, Amelia Earhart and Thomas Edison.

Today, nearly 55 years after our founding as an Adventist hospital, Shawnee Mission Health continues to operate on the same healthy living principles established by the early inventors of Adventist healthcare. Dr. Kellogg and his team’s emphasis on treating the whole person—mentally, physically and spiritually—has become the foundation for our healthcare practices and Adventist Health System’s mission of Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ.

One of the most distinctive ways SMH offers whole-person care to patients, associates and members of our community is by teaching the philosophy of CREATION Health, a faith-based wellness program focusing on eight principles that reflect God’s plan for living: Choice, Rest, Environment, Activity, Trust, Interpersonal Relationships, Outlook and Nutrition. For the past five years, SMH has improved people’s wellbeing by teaching CREATION Health through classes and seminars.

Administrative director of Spiritual Development, Mark Stoddart, recalls numerous stories of people who had life-changing experiences through participating in CREATION Health, including one person who made the decision to go back to school to become a registered nurse and another who quit smoking after 50 years.

“CREATION Health encourages people to identify what they do not like about their life and to commit to change,” said Stoddart. “It provides a whole-person health experience and a sense of awareness to make every day count.”

The principles of CREATION Health are an integral part of SMH’s culture and often used as a springboard to develop other wellness initiatives like community wellness classes and Take Time to LIV, a seven-month program designed to reduce cardiovascular disease in women.

In order to offer the best in whole-health care to more people in the Kansas City community, SMH is not only developing ongoing wellness programs but also growing its facilities and medical staff, which now consists of nearly 700 physicians in 50 specialties. Over the past few years, SMH has enhanced its services and offered care closer to home by adding several new facilities including the Shawnee Mission Birth Center, the Shawnee Mission Cancer Center, SMH—Prairie Star and three Centra Care Shawnee Mission Urgent Care locations. The organization is also currently building SMH—Blue Valley, and plans are underway to break ground on the new B.E. Smith Children’s Center.
For more information about Shawnee Mission Health, visit

Jackie Woods is a writer for Shawnee Mission Health.