Belgrano Adventist Clinic is a medical health institution of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, located in the territory of the Argentine Union Conference. Its headquarters is located at 1710 Estomba Street, Belgrano District, C1430 EGF, Buenos Aires, in Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Founded in 1959 in the city of Buenos Aires, Belgrano Clinic is part of Adventist Health International, a health system that currently has “more than 150 hospitals and sanatoriums, 330 clinics and dispensaries, 80 nursing homes and 16 orphanages” scattered throughout the world.1 Its purpose is to provide the best service to the community, offering holistic treatment. Among its fundamental objectives is the practice of prevention and educating for good health. The clinic stands for offering a high quality service based on the latest scientific research, using the best technological equipment, trusting God, and respecting people.2
In its service to the public, Belgrano Adventist Clinic offers the following specialties: allergy, andrology, arrhythmia and pacemakers (electrophysiology), clinical cardiology, specialist in arterial hypertension and several surgery specialties: bariatric, cardiac, head and neck, general, maxillofacial, plastic, reparative, thoracic, and vascular. It also offers dermatology, clinical diabetology, endocrinology, phlebology, gastroenterology, neurogastroenterology and motility, gynecology, hysteroscopy, hematology, hemodynamics, hepatology, infectology, lipidology, mastology, nephrology, pneumonology.3
Other specialties available are: sleep disorders, aid on quitting smoking, neurosurgery, epilepsy, neurology, sleep disorders, and nutrition. In the field of ophthalmology there are: ophthalmological surgery and specialists in retina, infections and glaucoma, tear ducts, ophthalmological plastic surgery, and pediatric ophthalmology. The institution also has these specialties: oncology, otolaryngology, pediatrics, proctology, psychiatry, rheumatology, and pain treatment. In the field of traumatology there are also specialists in spine, shoulder and knee-arthroscopy, hand and upper limb pathology, hip pathology, hip joint preservation surgery, and leg and foot specialist; finally, specialties such as urology (children's urology and urodynamic studies).4
Developments that Led to the Establishment of the Institution
The Adventist message arrived in South America through literature (in the mid-1880s), then through the arrival of lay missionaries (1890), canvassers (1891), and an ordained pastor (1894). The latter organized the first churches,5 and the first educational and medical institutions, the publishing house, and the food factory emerged. From 1894 to 1900 Argentina was part of the Eastern Coast Mission (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) of South America, under the Board of Foreign Missions of the General Conference. In 1901 the South American Mission Union was organized by decision of the General Conference, which included the Argentine Mission, later called River Plate Conference (now the Argentina Union Conference). In 1906 the South American Union Conference (current South American Division) was organized.6
Sent by the Board of Foreign Missions of the General Conference, the Norwegian Ole Oppegard (1846-1934) arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1895, becoming the first Adventist missionary related to medical activity in Argentina. Oppegard was an efficient nurse and canvasser of independent living. With his arrival in the country, the desire to start a medical institution increased.7 In 1901 pastor and physician Robert H. Habenicht (1866-1925) was sent by the Mission Board of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to begin medical work in South America. In 1902 he moved to Entre Ríos and started medical work in Crespo, and then in Camarero (now called Libertador San Martín). In 1908 the River Plate Adventist Sanatorium was established.8
In searching to establish medical centers in South America, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has had to overcome enormous difficulties, including resistance to foreign physicians and scarce resources. In the third decade of the 20th century, the world faced enormous difficulties such as the postwar period and the Great Depression,9 unfavorable conditions that prevented the opening of new health institutions.10 In 1928, Buenos Aires was one of the largest metropolises in the world, with a population of about two million people, including almost ninety thousand English speakers, whom the Adventist Church organized an evangelistic project to reach. Advertisements were purchased in two large newspapers, and a room was rented in the Belgrano neighborhood, where the headquarters of the Southern Union Conference (now the Argentina Union Conference) was located.11
Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, the Argentinean economic model collapsed, replaced by a new proposal of industrial achievement. This change allowed greater participation in the industrial labor market, resulting in major population growth. In this context, 25.2 percent of the country's population was concentrated in Buenos Aires, which in 1947 reached 3 million inhabitants. From then on there was a setback, because while in Buenos Aires the population growth stagnated, the metropolitan region continued to increase.12
The Institution’s Founding
At the end of the 1950s, some patients of the River Plate Adventist Sanatorium, located in the Province of Entre Ríos, Argentina, requested the same kind of medical care in Buenos Aires. The institution would depend on the Austral Union Conference for that new project. First, external offices were installed in the main building of a group of houses, which until recently had been the administrative headquarters of the South American Division.13 In 1959, Dr. C.E. Drachenberg (1921-2001)14 opened a small clinic that had only outpatient care. Due to rapid growth, over the course of a year the small clinic was reconditioned to function as a hospital, with a medical staff of 14 professionals and 12 beds. In 1965 new plans were projected for the expansion of the clinic in 3 stages: first, a new sector with 40 beds and 3 operating rooms; second, a new wing with capacity for 100 beds; and third, a rehabilitation center with capacity for new specialties.15
The Belgrano Clinic became part of the Adventist Church’s evangelistic outreach, dealing first-hand with the richest classes of the neighborhoods around the clinic and in nearby regions. For that, it sought to expand its rooms and modernize its facilities.16 In 1966 the first medical missionary council of the South American Division took place. This council was held in two places: first, at Silvestre Adventist Hospital, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and then at River Plate Adventist Sanatorium, in Argentina. The meeting was attended by Dr. R. Flaiz, secretary of the General Conference medical department, as well as representatives of River Plate Adventist Sanatorium, Belgrano Clinic, Silvestre Adventist Hospital, and Belem Hospital, Brasil.17
Around 1979 the Adventist Church allocated 25 percent of Thirteenth Sabbath Offerings to support three South American Division projects, including the expansion and modernization of Belgrano Clinic. The offering contributed to the construction of two operating rooms and a nursery. This allowed an expansion of the medical work, which, in turn, enabled a strengthening of evangelism in the region.18 In the mid-1980s another project Sabbath School offering aided Belgrano Medical Clinic, contributing to the construction of a new building to better serve its patients and public.19
The Institution’s History
Valuing the human being as a whole, since 1959 the Belgrano Medical Clinic has always sought to meet its physical, mental and spiritual needs. Thus, in 1991, the institution changed its name to Belgrano Adventist Clinic, a name that best reflects its philosophical principles. The Belgrano Adventist Clinic serves the Buenos Aires and the greater metropolitan region. The number of beds has grown to 66, staffed by 92 nurses and 300 physicians.20
In 2004 Dr. Roberto Herrera, head of neurosurgery, developed and introduced for the first time in Argentina Intraoperative Magnetic Resonance in neurosurgery. This treatment against brain gliomas allows surgeons to locate and completely remove tumors.21 In 2011 the hospital acquired a nearby property, which has 450 square meters of land and 300 square meters of construction.22
As a Christian institution, Belgrano Adventist Clnic has maintained a relationship of service with the community. In 2013 a community health center was opened in downtown Buenos Aires, offering health and family free orientations, serving an average of 40 people a day. The project was a partnership between the hospital and the Seventh-day Adventist Church.23
A procedure carried out in 2017 “caught the attention of the press and the medical community of Argentina.” Called percutaneous aortic valvular implant, an exam known to be less invasive, and used in patients over 65, it was used successfully for the first time in a 24-year-old.24 Another stand-out sector is that of Neurology and Neurosurgery, which has been equipped to meet great complexities. The hospital also has a stroke prevention and treatment program.25
With the aim of always providing the best service to the public, Belgrano Adventist Clinic seeks a constant modernization of the services of Laboratory, Diagnostic Imaging, Operating Room, Intensive Therapy Unit, Emergency Service and Administration, reaching a total constructed area of approximately 6,500 square meters. The hospital serves nearly 13,000 patients a month, a figure that continues to grow. The institution also provides highly complex cardiovascular, imaging, neurological and neurosurgical services.26
The Institution’s Historical Role
In its relationship with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Belgrano Adventist Clinic develops projects that aim to cure persons physically and spiritually. In 2014 an evangelistic project in the Villa del Parque neighborhood, in Buenos Aires, had the contribution of physicians, chaplains, psychologists, psychiatrists, nutritionists, nurses, and the Clinic administration staff. Thirty two people gave courses on stress control, anguish confrontation, and dealing with anxiety.
Among the free services offered by Belgrano Adventist Clinic are the 5-day Stop Smoking Plan, cooking courses, nutrition, heart disease prevention, diabetes, cardiopulmonary resuscitation courses, and seminars on the eight natural remedies. The nursing staff have participated in community public health outreach, measuring blood pressure, weight, and body mass indexes, and checking people’s heart.
Fulfilling the purpose of bringing spiritual healing through the salvation message, in 2019 one of the stages of an evangelistic campaign was concluded, establishing a new congregation in the Villa del Parque neighborhood, Buenos Aires. Another activity carried out every Saturday morning is the Emotional and Spiritual Support Workshop “Positive Mind,” presented to the Belgrano neighborhood. Offering various health courses, this program has allowed the existence of a database of more than 250 contacts, and for five consecutive years, it has also made the Clinic an “Influence Center” for the entire neighborhood. Fifty people have been participating and nine have already been baptized.27
Located in the Federal Capital, “this institution turned 60 taking care of the health of millions of people. But beyond the physical health, for the Clinic members the mental and spiritual area are fundamental pillars in the whole person's health.” By restoring people physically, mentally, and spiritually, offering a holistic service of excellence, based on the hope of a full life in Christ Jesus, Belgrano Adventist Clinic has kept alive the foundational objectives of educating for health, serving patients through the provision of qualified and current medical services. Above all, the Clinic aims to offer high quality service to the entire community based on knowledge of science, the application of technology, and hope and faith in God.28
List of Names
Belgrano Medical Clinic (1959-1990);
Belgrano Adventist Clinic (1991-at present).
List of leaders29
General Director: Carlos E. Drachenberg (1959-1963); Oldemar Beskow (1964-1978); Pedro Tabuenca (1978-1983); Oldemar Beskow (1984-1992); René Leichner (1993-1994); Heriberto Roscher (1999-2007); Jorge Echezarraga (2007-2017); Gustavo Weiss (2018-present).
Medical Director: Juan Carlos Silva (1995-2017); Dr. Walter Treiyer (2018-present).
Managing Director: Alfredo Bellido (1962); E.G. Sittner (1963-1965); Miguel Ibañez (1966-1973); M.N. Soto (1974-1975); J.C. Bollati (1976-1981); Neldo T. Graf (1982-1992); David Gutiérrez (1993-1994); Marcelo B. Fucks (1996-1997); Ricardo Cardinalli (1998-2008); Favio Neugebauer (2009-present).30
“Avance argentino para vencer los tumores cerebrales” [Argentine advance to defeat brain tumors]. Diario El Día [El Día newspaper] (Online), June 1, 2012.
Azo, Carolyn y Filipe Lemos. “Alcançar as elites” [Reach the elites]. Revista Adventista [Adventist Review], July 2013.
Beach, W. R. “The Challenge of a Great Center.” ARH, February 15, 1968.
“Chispazos de la Junta Anual de la División Sudamericana” [Sparks of the Annual Meeting of the South American Division]. South American Bulletin, October-December 1964.
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Clínica-Web [Web-Clinic]. https://clinica-web.com.ar/.
Echezarraga, Jorge. “Clínica Adventista Belgrano” [Belgrano Adventist Clinic]. Jesús viene, ¡Resplandece! [Jesus is coming, Shine!]. Document of the II Argentine Union Conference Congress (Libertador San Martín, Entre Ríos, Argentina, December 16-19, 2015, 169-176.
Echezarraga, Jorge. “Clínica Belgrano festeja su 50° Aniversario” [Belgrano Clinic celebrates its 50th Anniversary], La Revista Adventista [Adventist Review], March 2010, 20-21.
Echezarraga, Jorge. Reports sent to Eugenio Di Dionisio on September 20, 2016 and January 31, 2017.
Enciclopedia de Historia [History Encyclopedia]. https://enciclopediadehistoria.com/.
“El quirófano del alma” [The soul operating room]. La Revista Adventista-edición especial [Adventist Review-Special Edition], November 2013.
Galinsky, Paula. “Con una operación inédita salvaron de un trasplante de corazón a un joven” [With a new operation they saved a young man from a heart transplant]. El Clarín (Online), January 2, 2017.
Greenleaf, Floyd. A Land of Hope: The Growth of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in South America. Tatuí, São Paulo: Brazilian Publishing House, 2011.
Haynes, Carlyle B. “The Buenos Aires English effort.” ARH, August 30, 1928.
Macri, Mauricio, Héctor Lostri and Daniel Chain. Modelo territorial: Buenos Aires 2010-2060 [Territorial model: Buenos Aires 2010-2060]. Buenos Aires: Ministry of Urban Development of the Government of Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, 2009.
Murray, W. E. “Obituary Ole Oppegard.” South American Bulletin, April 1934.
M.S. Nigri, “Echoes From the First Medical Missionary Councils,” South American Bulletin, October-December 1966.
“Nos estamos preparando y entrenando para predicar en Buenos Aires” [We are preparing and training to preach in Buenos Aires]. La Revista Adventista [Adventist Review], September 2012.
Oliveira, Enoch de. “Belgrano Clinic in Buenos Aires, Argentina.” World Mission Report, First quarter, 1978.
Peverini, Héctor J. En las huellas de la Providencia [In the footsteps of Providence]. Buenos Aires: Spanish South American Publishing House, 1988.
Piro, Francisco P. “Aprecio por la Clínica Belgrano” [Appreciation for the Belgrano Clinic]. La Revista Adventista [Adventist Review], September 1975.
Portal de la Iglesia Adventista del Séptimo Día [Portal of the Seventh-day Adventist Church]. https://www.adventistas.org/es/.
Posse, Hugo D. “Servicio de cirugía plástica” [Plastic surgery service]. La Revista Adventista [Adventist Review], December 1988.
Rampton, Howard F. “$1.275 million to South America”. ARH, August 16, 1979.
River Plate Adventist Sanatorium. http://sanatorioadventista.org.ar/.
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Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Nampa, ID.: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2018.
Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1960.
Scholtus, Silvia C. “Robert H. Habenicht.” In Misioneros fundacionales del adventismo sudamericano [Founding missionaries of South American Adventism]. 3rd edited by Daniel O. Plenc, Silvia C. Scholtus, Eugenio Di Dionisio and Sergio Becerra, 59-84. Libertador San Martín, Entre Ríos: River Plate University Editorial, 2016.
Silva, Juan Carlos. “Mil historias y un propósito. Salud!” [A thousand stories and a purpose. Health!]. Clínica Adventista Belgrano [Belgrano Adventist Clinic], August 2009.
Sittner, E.G. “Addition to Belgrano Medical Clinic,” ARH, March 18, 1965.
Snyder, E.W. “Notes from Argentine.” ARH, April 5, 1898.
“Thirteenth Sabbath Offering to Fuel South America's Blazing Church Growth.” North Pacific Union Gleaner, March 19, 1979.
“Vidas al servicio de Dios, Carlos Emilio Drachenberg (1921-2001)” [Lives at the service of God, Carlos Emilio Drachenberg (1921-2001)]. La Revista Adventista [Adventist Review], August 2002.
Villar, Alexis. “La Clínica Adventista Belgrano Inaugura una congregación en Buenos Aires” [Belgrano Adventist Clinic opens a congregation in Buenos Aires]. Noticias – Adventistas [Adventist News] (Online), November 18, 2019.
Westphal, Francisco. Pioneering in the Neglected Continent. Nashville, Tennessee: Southern Publishing Association, 1927.
Wolff, João and Eduardo Schmidt. “South American Roundup.” Mission Quarterly, July-September, 1986.
Francisco Westphal, Pioneering in the Neglected Continent (Nashville, Tennessee: Southern Publishing Association, 1927). The Spanish translation is Pioneer in South America, Transl. Silvia Scholtus de Roscher (Liberator San Martín, Entre Ríos: Ellen G. White Research Center, 1997).↩
E. W. Snyder, “Notes from Argentine,” ARH, April 5, 1898, 221, accessed February 28, 2020, http://bit.ly/3abrhbg.; W. E. Murray, “Obituary Ole Oppegard,” South American Bulletin, April 1934, 8, accessed February 28, 2020, http://bit.ly/2VCnxLI.↩
Silvia C. Scholtus, “Robert H. Habenicht,” in Misioneros fundacionales del adventismo sudamericano [Founding missionaries of South American Adventism]. 3rd ed., ed. Daniel O. Plenc, Silvia C. Scholtus, Eugenio Di Dionisio, and Sergio Becerra (Libertador San Martín, Entre Ríos: River Plate University Editorial, 2016, 59-84.↩
“The great depression, […] known as the 1929 crisis, was a period in the early 20th century when the entire world was under a deep economic and social crisis that lasted for about a decade. [...] it affected most countries in the world to varying degrees, [...] and became the most severe period of economic recession of the 20th century. Among the main causes and triggers of this global conflict was the United States financial crisis caused by the stock market crash after the First World War”]. Enciclopedia de Historia [History Encyclopedia], “La Gran Depresión” [The Great Depression], accessed February 28, 2020, http://bit.ly/2vnI77W.↩
Floyd Greenleaf, A Land of Hope: The Growth of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in South America (Tatuí, São Paulo: Casa Publicadora Brasileira, 2011), 647, accessed February 28, 2020, http://bit.ly/3bJmpvB.↩
Mauricio Macri, Hector Lostri and Daniel Chain, Modelo territorial: Buenos Aires 2010-2060 [Territorial model: Buenos Aires 2010-2060] (Buenos Aires: Ministry of Urban Development of the Government of Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, 2009), 34, accessed February 27, 2020, http://bit.ly/399wSPh.↩
“Vidas al servicio de Dios, Carlos Emilio Drachenberg (1921-2001)” [Lives at the service of God, Carlos Emilio Drachenberg (1921-2001)], La Revista Adventista [Adventist Review], August 2002, 16.↩
“Chispazos de la Junta Anual de la División Sudamericana” [Sparks of the Annual Meeting of the South American Division], South American Bulletin, October - December 1964, 5, 8, accessed February 28, 2020, http://bit.ly/2uCONyH.; M. S. Nigri, “Echoes From the First Medical Missionary Councils,” South American Bulletin, October-December 1966, 2, accessed February 28, 2020, http://bit.ly/39cMIIM.; W. R. Beach, “The Challenge of a Great Center,” ARH, February 15, 1968, 7, accessed February 28, 2020, http://bit.ly/385Won1.; En ese lugar funcionó la División Sudamericana durante los años 1922 a 1952 [In that place the South American Division functioned during the years 1922 to 1952]. Francisco P. Piro, “Aprecio por la Clínica Belgrano” [Appreciation for the Belgrano Clinic], La Revista Adventista [Adventist Review], September 1975, 18.↩
Howard F. Rampton, “$1.275 million to South America”, Adventist Review, August 16, 1979, 24, accessed February 28, 2020, http://bit.ly/2I79rKq; “Thirteenth Sabbath Offering to Fuel South America's Blazing Church Growth,” North Pacific Union Gleaner, March 19, 1979, 4, accessed February 28, 2020, http://bit.ly/2TmK6BG.↩
Juan Carlos Silva, “Mil historias y un propósito. Salud!” [A thousand stories and a purpose. Health!], Clínica Adventista Belgrano [Belgrano Adventist Clinic], August 2009, 14-17.; Jorge Echezarraga, “Clínica Belgrano festeja su 50° Aniversario” [Belgrano Clinic celebrates its 50th Anniversary], La Revista Adventista [Adventist Review], March 2010, 20-21.↩
“Nos estamos preparando y entrenando para predicar en Buenos Aires” [We are preparing and training to preach in Buenos Aires], La Revista Adventista [Adventist Review], September 2012, 26, 27; “El quirófano del alma” [The soul operating room], La Revista Adventista-edición especial [Adventist Review-Special Edition], November 2013, 22; Jorge Echezarraga, “Clínica Adventista Belgrano” [Belgrano Adventist Clinic], Jesús viene, ¡Resplandece! [Jesus is coming, shine!]. Document of the II Argentine Union Conference Congress (Libertador San Martín, Entre Ríos, Argentina, December 16-19, 2015), 169-176; Jorge Echezarraga, reports sent to Eugenio Di Dionisio on September 20, 2016 and January 31, 2017, available in the Belgrano Adventist Clinic Archives.↩
Paula Galinsky, “Con una operación inédita salvaron de un trasplante de corazón a un joven” [With a new operation they saved a young man from a heart transplant], El Clarín, January 2, 2017, accessed February 26, 2020, https://www.clarin.com/sociedad/operacion-inedita-salvaron-trasplante-corazon-joven_0_rJjH-rOBx.html.↩
Hugo D. Posse, “Servicio de cirugía plástica” [Plastic surgery service], La Revista Adventista [Adventist Review], December 1988, 13, 14.↩
Alexis Villar, “La Clínica Adventista Belgrano Inaugura una congregación en Buenos Aires” [Belgrano Adventist Clinic Opens a congregation in Buenos Aires], Noticias – Adventistas [Adventist News], November 18, 2019, accessed February 26, 2020, https://noticias.adventistas.org/es/noticia/evangelismo/la-clinica-adventista-belgrano-inaugura-una-congregacion/.↩
Seventh-day Adventist Online Yearbook, “Belgrano Adventist Sanitarium,” accessed February 27, 2020, http://bit.ly/3a7X8tp. “Clinic Belgrano,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1960), 282.; “Belgrano Adventist Sanitarium,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Nampa, ID.: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2018), 592. To verify in more detail about all the Belgrano Adventist Clinic directors, consult the Seventh-day Adventist Yearbooks from 1960 to 2018.↩
More information about Belgrano Adventist Clinic can be found on the website https://clinicaadventista.org/, or on social networks: Instagram: @clinica_adventista, Facebook: @clinicaadvbelgrano, LinkedIn: Clinica Adventista Belgrano and Youtube: @Clínica Adventista Belgrano.↩