The lightheartedness comes easily to Doug Plata, an urgent-care physician from Rancho Cucamonga, California. But when it comes to supporting Adventist lifestyle medicine, he’s entirely serious.
Holding both an M.D. from Loma Linda’s School of Medicine and an M.P.H. (Master of Public Health) from the university’s School of Public Health, Plata was part of the first group of young physicians and dentists to plan for the organization today known as AMEN.
“We were discussing the possibilities for naming the new organization, and I jokingly suggested the Adventist Physician Evangelism Society—APES,” he says with a chuckle. “Fortunately, we settled on AMEN, which has worked wonderfully to communicate who we are and what we’re about.”
Plata has attended all but one of the AMEN conferences since the group’s founding in 2005 at Cohutta Springs, Georgia. “AMEN began primarily as a young adult group,” Plata notes, “but very quickly connected with ASI [Adventist-laymen’s Services and Industries], and brought physicians and dentists of all ages and backgrounds together.”
“I think AMEN’s number one purpose is as a support group encouraging us to share Christ in the workplace and to understand our healing occupations as ministry,” Plata says. “It’s fulfilling a need that existed, and doing a great job in that. But there are a lot of our Adventist colleagues who aren’t even aware of what we can do to encourage each other in healing both body and soul.”
Plata particularly applauds AMEN leadership for sponsoring Loma Linda University medical and dental students to attend the annual conference. As a direct consequence of that outreach, a student chapter of AMEN organized on the Loma Linda campus two years ago, and more than 170 students and spouses attended the October 28-November 1 conference at San Diego’s Paradise Point resort free of charge.
MEDICAL TRACK: [Above] Dozens of medical and dental students from Loma Linda University attended the AMEN conference free of charge. Photos: John Shin