Sr. Phyllis Hughes, RSM, DrPH

Lifetime Achievement Award
For a lifetime of contributions to the ministry

Sr. Phllis Hughes

Sr. Phyllis Hughes, RSM, DrPH
Board Member, Providence St. Joseph Health
Renton, Wash.
Former Board Chair, Catholic Health Initiatives
Englewood, Colo.

Watch the Awards Banquet Video!

Serving in a variety of ministry roles for more than 51 years, Sr. Phyllis has shepherded the shape-shifting of Catholic health care from many perspectives: individual hospitals to major health systems; simple congregational sponsorship to complex multi-congregational and multi-institutional sponsorship; and domestic acute care to global health outreach.

Throughout her career, Sr. Phyllis has worn the hats of sponsorship, governance and management. She has served on 28 Catholic health care boards and numerous other sponsorship councils, task forces and committees. She has held leadership positions within religious life (president of the Sisters of Mercy Burlingame Congregation) and within Catholic hospitals (CEO of Mercy Bakersfield); significant positions in Catholic health systems and associations (Mercy Health System; Catholic Healthcare West; Dignity Health; Catholic Health Association (CHA); St. Joseph Health System of Orange; Providence Health and Services; Catholic Health Initiatives Board of Stewardship Trustees; Providence St. Joseph Health System; the Eldercare Alliance, the former Alegent Health Board (now part of CHI Health, Nebraska); and the Scripps Health board. For five years she was president of the public juridic person of CHI, Catholic Health Care Federation. In these roles, she has participated in many acquisitions, mergers, reorganizations, partnerships, divestitures and sponsorship arrangements.

Sr. Phyllis holds a doctorate in public health in international health care from the University of California at Berkeley, and her dissertation focused on the ethics of humanitarian aid in complex political emergencies. The breadth of her involvement in the Catholic health ministry spans settings as diverse as the San Francisco Archdiocesan Reorganization Committee to the HIV and AIDS International Catholic Committee in Geneva, Switzerland. She has consulted with sponsorship issues in Guyana; accompanied medical teams into the mountains of Peru; visited remote clinics in South Sudan; and volunteered assisting orphans in Romania. She managed the HIV and AIDS unit for Catholic Relief Services in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. In short, Sr. Phyllis' health care leadership experience spans the globe.

Today Sr. Phyllis serves on the Providence St. Joseph Health Systems board (WA); the Eldercare Alliance board (CA); the St Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center board (AZ); the St. Mary's San Francisco Medical Center board (CA); and the sponsorship council for a hospital in Guyana.

Those who have worked with Sr. Phyllis say she has an uncanny ability to assess very complicated structures, identify the issues and dynamics involved and engage stakeholders in moving together toward a shared future. They also praise her easy leadership style, administrative acumen, concern for the poor, "double-decker brains" and sense of humor.