On Thursday, August 1, the Castle Rock Adventist Health Campus will officially launch into its bold, ambitious plan of helping to create the healthiest community in the country. The following information was submitted by Stephen King, senior vice president for mission and ministry for the Rocky Mountain Adventist Health System/Centura Health, where he serves the five Adventist hospital campuses in Colorado. It was written by CMBell Company.

Everyone wants to live a healthy life. But according to CEO Todd Folkenberg, many just don’t know how to take the first step. That’s why he and his team are partnering with their community—schools, churches, leaders, and the city—to rally the resources to help Castle Rock top the list of the nation’s healthiest communities.

For the hospital, it will mean stepping outside its traditional roles and helping people on their journey to a healthier life, says Folkenberg. As a starting place, they’ve devised a self-guided tour with signs and pictures that introduce people to CREATION* Health principles ranging from outlook and nutrition to trust in God.

It will also mean launching programs that promote health—many of which happen outside of the hospital walls. A free cycle program, the first of its kind in Colorado, for example, is jointly sponsored by the hospital and local businesses to help residents get more exercise. People can simply access an unlock code from their cell phone, then borrow a bike from one of four locations in the community—including in front of Town Hall.

Practicing what they preach

The “Garden of Eatin”, their on-campus community garden, allows people to plant their own gardens, and a nearby exhibition education and cooking center pavilion—complete with outdoor grill—stages classes by local chefs and master gardeners.

In place of the traditional hospital cafeteria is a full-service restaurant that serves fresh, locally sourced and healthy food. Their award-winning executive chef, Dan Skay, was recognized in 2009 by Wall Street Journal as having the best hospital food program in the country.

“There’s an odd disconnect between the message hospitals send when they preach healthy diets, then turn around and serve burgers and fries in their cafeteria,” says Folkenberg.

Folkenberg acknowledges that he has a head start in building the healthiest community since Castle Rock is health-conscious and located in Douglas County, one of the healthiest counties in Colorado—which is already one of healthiest states in the country.

The Adventist tradition of promoting prevention and wellness since their earliest days gives them a head start, too.

To Folkenberg, these steps are just the beginning; the hospital will find more ways to live into this mission in the years ahead. And for the residents of Castle Rock, the August 1 opening of the 50-bed hospital marks the beginning of a place defined by a fresh philosophy about health that’s not driven by shareholders or motivated by profits—but by an idea of what God tells us about human flourishing.

“When people come to the hospital, it’s often a wake-up call. It’s a perfect opportunity to create a more whole life going forward,” says Folkenberg. “We want folks to know that what inspires us to provide world class health care is living into the tradition of Jesus as healer and supporting each member of our community in living a more abundant life.”

*For more on CREATION health, visit http://castlerockhospital.org/creation-health