Florida Sanitarium and Hospital sign.

Changing Times: 1950 to 2000

The post-war years brought a new era of Adventist health care. Patients no longer traveled long distances to sanitariums, and their length of stay dropped from months to days. Medical advances, new vaccines, antibiotics and technologies came fast — and health insurance was new — all of which contributed to the growth of acute-care services.

By this time, Adventists were known for offering special health care that treated the whole person. Many communities turned to Adventist health care leaders, inviting them to build or operate their hospitals. In the 1960s and 1970s, existing Adventist hospitals around the country began uniting into health systems to streamline and benefit from economies of scale. These health systems provided centralized leadership and services, along with improved purchasing power. By the 90s and the year 2000, Adventist hospital locations grew exponentially.

Where the Modern Story of AdventHealth Begins

In 1961, when Orlando was a quiet but growing town. The Florida Sanitarium and Hospital had only 193 beds. Like the medical pioneers before him, Don Welch, a newly recruited hospital administrator, had a dream to reach even more people with Christ’s healing ministry. Seeing the community’s needs, he increased the medical staff, acquired the latest medical equipment and developed additional services. To provide close-to-home care for people in the expanding outskirts of town, Welch and his team purchased a cow pasture just north of Orlando, where the first satellite facility, AdventHealth Altamonte Springs, was born.

Share Your Piece of Our Legacy

Do you have a special story about the AdventHealth legacy or a historical memorabilia item? Reach out to our Legacy Preservation Team at [email protected] and share your special piece of our living history.