From ANN, March 12, 2015:   Approval has been granted for a medical school to begin classes in August this year at the Adventist University of the Philippines. It will be the Adventist denomination’s sixth medical school worldwide and the first in Asia.

The nation’s Commission on Higher Education gave legal status for a College of Medicine to be located on the campus in Silang in the province of Cavite. The program has also met requirements set by the denomination’s International Board of Education.

The first class with have 35 medical students. The school will use Batangas Medical Center as its main teaching hospital because of its volume and variety of patients. It will also partner with Adventist Medical Center—Manila.

The program is designed to serve the denomination’s Southern Asia-Pacific Division. “We’re very excited. They have worked very hard for this day, a dream of more than 30 years,” said Dr. Peter Landless, director of health ministries director for the denomination.

The new medical school will “train and graduate physicians who are service-oriented, effectively witnessing for God and promoting the worldwide mission of the Adventist Church as medical missionary-minded doctors wherever they may be,” said Dr. Doris Mendoza, the founding dean.

The university has been partnering with Loma Linda University School of Medicine, an Adventist institution in the United States, for advising on student admissions, curriculum development and faculty development. “Over the past 100 years, Loma Linda has refined a process to select mission-focused graduates who have carried out the healing ministry of Christ and the commission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and their mentoring of AUP and our other new medical schools has been vital,” said Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, director of education director for the General Conference.

The denomination opened its fifth medical school in Peru in 2012. Other Adventist medical schools are located at Loma Linda University in the United States, Montemorellos University in Mexico, River Plate Adventist University in Argentina, and Babcock University in Nigeria.

A seventh Adventist medical school is currently being planned for the denomination’s East-Central Africa Division, Beardsley-Hardy said. “To carry out our mission, especially in the underserved parts of the world, we need many more physicians who speak the language of patients and are culturally competent, in addition to being excellent clinicians,” she said.

The Adventist News Network (ANN) is the official news agency of the denomination. Max Cadalig and Teresa Costello helped in reporting this story.