From News Release, May 18, 2015:   The relationship between Loma Linda University (LLU) and Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital in Hangzhou, China, has led to a number of requests for similar assistance, reports Dr. Richard Hart, president of the leading Adventist health institution. “Many other enterprising businessmen and hospitals have been coming to our door, wanting to recreate the success of Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital.” Over two decades, more than 500 staff from the hospital in China have been trained at LLU and an equal number from the California university have spent time assisting in China.

The possibilities have resulted in study of two key questions, Hart said in a recent news bulletin. “What have we done that can be replicated elsewhere? … And … with whom do we want to partner in the future? We recognize it is time to branch out from Hangzhou, but we must consider who is truly committed to creating this special kind of care versus who is looking for a good marketing edge by using our name.”

Because of the strategic significance of China with 1.4 billion people, thousands of hospitals and massive cities with freeways, subways and skyscrapers, a small team of LLU leaders went to China a few weeks ago, visiting Hong Kong, Beijing, Hangzhou and Chongqing. The group “toured hospitals, listened to presentations, ate great meals with chopsticks, and discussed the best way forward. While China is opening up to Western ideas and programs, it is still a tightly controlled country, with little room for external organizations to work on their own. All of Loma Linda’s involvement to date has been in support of government hospitals and universities, including Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital. Though ‘religious freedom’ is allowed, it is carefully structured and monitored. Is there a role for a private, faith-based university now in China? Has the time come to see if this can happen? How would it best be organized? Where? What courses should be offered?”

The discussion of these questions and concerns with leaders of the Shaw Foundation, Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, and several large health systems across the country led to the conclusion that it is time to put forward a proposal, Hart stated. “A concept paper has been developed and sent off.” Hart asked alumni and supporters of LLU to pray for this initiative which could lead to “a huge step to further involvement in this country with one-fifth of the world’s population [and] a new frontier for Loma Linda, befitting our distinguished history of innovation around the world.”

The Adventist faith in China is part of the Three Self organization, the Protestant structure in the country. There are 418,000 members of the Adventist Church in China, according to the denomination’s General Conference Office of Archives, Statistics and Research.