- Identifying effective, official, and ethical service delivery models
- Defining the standards that support those models
- Sharing those models with colleagues through identifying current and future lay and professional leaders who can make a difference in the field
- Expanding the service footprint of the United Methodist Church
- Advocating for appropriate and needed changes in church and public policies
The concern for the welfare of the whole man weighed heavily on John Wesley in eighteenth century England. He studied medicine, in his spare time, practicing preventive and curative medicine and earned the right to be called a physician. He saw a growing need to provide medical help to the poor and opened dispensaries in London, Newcastle, and Bristol. His well known and widely read Primitive Physic or The Easy and Natural Way to Cure Most Diseases, published in 1747, went through thirty-two editions. Years before the discovery of the germ theory, Wesley perceived the relationship between disease and poor hygiene and preached good hygiene as a means to good health. The saying “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” is from one of Wesley’s sermons. Wesley was also among the first to consider the connection between pain and emotional distress and the need to treat the whole person.
The First “Orphans House” in America
The first health and welfare agency in America dates to the mid-eighteenth century. Thirty years before Francis Asbury, the Father of American Methodism, was sent to the American Colonies and forty-three years before the establishment of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America, George Whitefield saw the crucial need for the care of children in the early colony of Georgia. Out of his efforts the first welfare agency in America was established in the Bethesda “orphans house,” in 1741.
The First Home for the Aged in America
The first home for aged persons under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church was established in New York City in 1850. That year it opened its doors in a rented house to twenty-three elderly people who each paid $1.00 per week for their care.
The Turn of the Century
In the late nineteenth century, numerous agencies were springing up across the nation caring for old people and orphans, but the biggest boom did not occur until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as the nation moved from an agricultural rural society to a more urban industrialized population. Houses were no longer built to care for multi-generational families. Adult children became overburdened with care of elderly parents who found little to occupy their time in the crowded urban households. The decade of the 1890s was a period of large growth in construction and development of hospitals, homes for the aging and dependent children. Between 1875 and 1919 over 800 benevolent homes to care for the elderly alone were formed. Many United Methodist agencies trace their history to this period.
Methodist Board of Hospitals and Homes
Through the years the Methodist Episcopal Church divided over such issues as slavery and interpretation of the doctrine. Among branches that separated were the African Methodist Episcopal Church, founded in 1787, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, 1796, the Methodist Protestants, 1830, the Free Methodist Church, 1860, and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, 1870. Perhaps the most devastating split of all came in 1844 when the Methodist Episcopal Church was bisected to form two churches: the Methodist Episcopal Church—the northern body—and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. It was to be many years before branches of this church would begin coming together again. In May 1939, in Kansas City, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, the Methodist Protestant Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church united to form the United Methodist Church. This merger was significant to health and welfare interests of the church, for in Chicago, in 1940, the new body established the General Board of Hospitals and Homes, the organization to which the United Methodist Association of Health and Welfare traces its origin.
President and CEO
Director of EAGLE Accreditation
Emily Robbearts is responsible for the operations, promotion and expansion of the EAGLE Accreditation Program.
Emily served at Chaddock, United Way of Adams County and Blessing Health System before coming to UMA. During her tenure at Chaddock, she served as the Director of Agency Impact, assisted with the agency’s EAGLE accreditation survey, served as a peer reviewer and participated on the EAGLE Marketing Task Force. She is also a former Chaddock Board member.
Emily has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri and a Master’s in Business Administration from William Woods University. A lifelong Methodist, Emily is a member and former chair of the Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce Diversity and Inclusion Committee and is President Elect of the Rotary Club of Quincy, IL.
Emily brings to UMA extensive knowledge of the EAGLE principles and processes and a deep commitment to, and passion for, EAGLE.
Director of Membership and Programs
Kristen Jones joined UMA in October 2019, with over 25 years of executive experience in the nonprofit industry. Her areas of expertise include fundraising, communications, and program development. In her UMA role, she is responsible for membership engagement and retention, conference and event oversight, Peer Networks and Shared Learning.
Prior to UMA, Kristen served as a vice present in faith-based senior living. She led her former community through its EAGLE accreditation process, served on the Health and Welfare Board of the East Ohio UMC Conference, and has been a board member for numerous organizations. She holds a M.M. in voice performance and arts administration and is graduate of the LeadingAge Ohio Leadership Academy.
In her role, Sara Charbonneau provides executive support for the Board of Directors and for UMA and EAGLE marketing, communications and shared learning events.
Sara has served as the Communications Coordinator since January, 2019. She has more than 15 years of communications experience having worked specifically in digital marketing, events planning and the not-for-profit industry.
Susan Packin has served as the Operations Coordinator since July 2019 and provides support to the Director of Membership and the Director of EAGLE. In her role, she is also responsible for accounts receivable and payable.
Susan brings over 20 years of experience including customer service, administrative support and accounting.