Since 1893 The American Mission Hospital has been an integral part of Bahrain’s community. Here we learn about its rich history and how it’s adapting to global healthcare challenges.
More so than ever, health is at the forefront of everyone’s minds in these challenging times. It’s becoming painfully clear to people all over the world that we literally owe our lives to the dedicated professionals working in medicine and healthcare, but the balance between patient care and affordability remains an ongoing issue.
Modern healthcare depends on the seamless integration of multiple systems and processes to achieve desired outcomes at an affordable cost. Patients, too, have changed in how they view health, seeking more autonomy with their own treatments and healthcare plans.
At the American Mission Hospital in Bahrain, getting the balance right has been a core value since its establishment almost 120 years ago. The hospital has been an integral part of Bahrain’s community ever since, and the AMH continues to evolve in line with the ever changing, complex needs of different patients despite global and local challenges.
The Story So Far
The American Mission Hospital was conceived out of a need for healthcare back in 1893, when the first missionaries from the Reformed church in America set foot on the shores of Arabia. Samuel Zwemer opened the first dispensary in the Suq in Manama in 1896 and the first purpose built hospital opened in Bahrain in 1902. Over the decades the services expanded with the opening up of a Women and Children’s hospital in 1926 named the Marion Wells Hospital, in memory of the first female physician who served in this hospital and died in 1905. The hospital has since developed to what it is today with one hospital and three ambulatory care facilities providing high quality affordable care; the only not for profit healthcare in the region.
Building For the Future
The American Mission Hospital’s vision is to be a leader in setting the standard forhigh quality, innovative healthcare in Bahrain, reinventing itself as a new digital healthcare hospital that connects the individual to home, hospital and the wider community. Patients can now access appointments and medical information through a revolutionary phone app, bringing the power of health management to their own fingertips.
AMH was the first hospital in Bahrain to be accredited by the Australian Council of International Hospital Standards in 2006, and this was reconfirmed in 2010. With a new 10 year strategic plan in place, the hospital maintains these exceptional standards by adhering to a strict code of values, including:
- The provision of affordable high quality care in a non-profit setting
- The delivery patient centered care, with the sole focus of doing what is right for the patient at all times
- Care that is delivered as a team, harnessing the expertise of all members and nurturing the development of every employee to fulfill their role in the organization
- The pursuit of excellence at all times, delivered with absolute integrity
- Willingness to adapt to the changing needs of patients and the community
Working With The Community
The core values that drive excellence in what AMH does are seated in the involvement in the community, by raising awareness of health issues and improving the lives of those less fortunate. The mission of the hospital has always been to provide high quality healthcare at an affordable cost, to everyone who needs it. This care is based on the biblical principles of compassion, grace and love, upholding the legacy of the missionaries who founded the hospital all those years ago. The hospital maintains a strong presence throughout Bahrain, providing health awareness programs and supporting organizations with their Corporate Social Responsibility efforts.
The history of AMH is the modern history of Bahrain and stands as a testament of friendship and support provided by the Royal Court to the hospital. It represents the long standing friendship between the United States of America and Bahrain, and between the missionaries of the Reformed church and the Royal Court of His Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa. Charitable fundraising is done every year through a charitable golf tournament played at His Majesty’s private golf course. The Island Classic golf tournament is in its 23rd year and is supported by several prominent local sponsors. The funds raised have been used to expand facilities and purchase new equipment for the hospital.
The Hospital’s CEO, Julia Tovey RN, RSCN, BsC, MBA, LHCRM, is dedicated to ensuring the execution of its mission is patient-focused, safe and exceeds patient expectations. Julia’s professional career began at London’s Royal Hospital of St Bartholomew’s, where she successfully qualified as a Registered Nurse in 1984. In a career spanning over thirty years Julia has worked in leading hospitals in London, Cambridge, America and Saudi Arabia, accepting a position as Neonatal Nurse Instructor at Saudi Aramco in 1996. It was here that she developed her management skills, working in a number of leadership roles before assuming the position of Chief Operating Officer at the American Mission Hospital in 2017. Her appointment was an historic moment for the hospital and for women, as she became the first female Group CEO in its 120 year history.
Julia is passionate about giving back to the community and helping those who really need it, and this dedication to making quality care available to all is what the American Mission Hospital is all about. These core values are upheld inside the hospital as well as in the community, as Julia explained, “My philosophy is simple – put people before profits. If we look after our employees they in turn will give their best to ensure a positive patient experience.”
The hospital has been honored in the 2020 GCC Business Excellence Awards, impressing the judging panel with its outstanding contribution to the Bahrain community and commitment to adapting to ever evolving needs The awards honour organizations and individuals whose innovative, inspirational approaches drive increased growth and development to their sector. Those named in the awards recognised as visionaries in their fields, pushing boundaries and responding to responding to challenges for the greater good.
The award marks another significant moment in AMH’s history as it is recognised for setting a new standard for healthcare in the region. Julia explained, “Creating a caring and compassionate space in healthcare environments where healing can occur is something we are truly passionate about. There is only so much medicine can do; the rest is left to our minds in how we deal with disease and how it impacts the individual and the family unit. We believe that rigorous attention to detail through meaningful policies that are patient centric and realistic is key to maintain a robust and reliable healthcare system.”
To find out more about the American Mission Hospital’s history and work, visit