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US Adventist University will spend $62,000 Grant in Community Outreach

Southwestern Nursing Department will foster health and lifestyle education.

Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU)’s Nursing Department is thrilled to announce the approval of a grant from the Ardmore Institute of Health. The Nursing Department of SWAU, an Adventist-operated school in Keene, Texas, United States, started a Wellness Counts program in 2016 to provide health and lifestyle education and activities for the community surrounding the school campus. The $62,000 grant will make it possible for the nursing department to grow the program to better enrich the community.

“The Ardmore Institute of Health is pleased to support the work of Southwestern’s Nursing Department in extending and expanding the reach of its Wellness Counts program,” said Kevin Brown, president and CEO of the organization. “We are confident that the program’s emphasis on healthy living will bring the benefits of improved personal health to many people in Johnson County, in keeping with the Institute’s broader mission to improve the health and vitality of people to live more meaningful lives.”

The Ardmore Institute of Health (AIH) is an independent, non-profit Oklahoma corporation that seeks to improve the health and vitality of people around the world through the adoption of healthy lifestyle habits, according to its website. The institute was founded by Roy Johnson, a Seventh-day Adventist, in 1947.

  • A few Southwestern Adventist University students pause during a day helping at the health fair for Johnson County, Texas, United States, community members. [Photo: Southwestern Adventist University]

  • Blood pressure checks are just one of the services provided during Wellness Counts health fairs in Keene, Texas, United States. [Photo: Southwestern Adventist University]



The Wellness Counts program was designed to support Southwestern Adventist University’s major initiatives to build knowledge, increase faith, provide services and to meet growing needs in the local community. After conducting a wellness survey in Johnson County, significant health needs were discovered. For instance, 25 percent of the population under the age of 65 reported that they do not have health insurance. This need, coupled with the university’s desire to teach and give students opportunities for service, led to the development of the Wellness Counts program.

Since 2016, the Wellness Counts program has provided free activities to the community such as a health fair in partnership with the City of Keene Business Expo, a weekly family fitness class, diabetes prevention screenings, an eight-week Wellness Challenge to support lifestyle change, and the Supper and Discover program that offered a free meal with a class on tips for healthful living.

The Ardmore Institute of Health grant will enable the Wellness Counts program to expand its offering and reach to the community. These plans include a partnership with Texas A&M Agrilife to create an afterschool gardening and healthy eating program, a community resource garden to increase availability of fresh produce, and further partnerships with other area programs such as the Johnson County Alliance for Healthy Kids. Additional opportunities for students will be provided to assist with wellness-related classes in the community.

“We are delighted to collaborate with other organizations to address health needs in our community,” said Terri Gibson, Wellness Counts director and nursing professor at Southwestern. “Nursing students will be given the opportunity to utilize their health education skills and community residents can benefit. We are thrilled to be able to help our community and look forward to a journey to wellness together.”

For more information about the Wellness Counts program, click here.



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