Sr. Carol Keehan, DC

The opening session for Assembly 2019 promises to get straight to the heart of the matter during a facilitated conversation on the mainstage about the clergy sex abuse scandal. Sr. Carol Keehan is one of the prominent voices from our ministry who will share comments and insights into the issue and discuss ways Catholic health care and Church leadership can work together to protect human dignity, promote healing and advance the common good.


President and Chief Executive Officer, CHA

Sr. Carol Keehan, DC

Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, is the ninth president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA). She assumed her duties in October 2005. She is responsible for all association operations and leads CHA's staff at offices in Washington, DC, where she is based, and in St. Louis.

Sr. Carol worked in administrative and governance positions at hospitals sponsored by the Daughters of Charity for more than 35 years. Prior to joining CHA, she was the board chair of Ascension Health's Sacred Heart Health System in Pensacola, Fla. Previously, she served for 15 years as president and chief executive officer of Providence Hospital in Washington, DC. In the early 1980s, Sr. Carol served as Providence Hospital's vice president for nursing. In addition, she served in leadership positions at Sacred Heart Hospital in Cumberland, MD, and Sacred Heart Children's Hospital in Pensacola, Fla.

Sr. Carol holds influential roles in the governance of several health care, insurance and educational organizations. In 2014, she was elected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine), which advises the nation and international community on issues of vital importance to public health. In 2010 and the ensuing years, Sr. Carol played a central role in advancing the Affordable Care Act and ensuring that it continues to effectively provide health insurance to vulnerable people and working families.

Sr. Carol has been a representative to the International Federation of Catholic Health Care Associations of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Health Care. In addition, she has been a member of several health, labor and domestic policy committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC, and serves on the finance committee of the Archdiocese of Washington. Currently, Sr. Carol also serves on the boards of Georgetown University in Washington, DC, St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y., and as participating observer on the Board of Catholic Charities USA.

Her numerous awards and honors include the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (Cross for the Church and Pontiff), bestowed by Pope Benedict XVI; the Seton Legacy of Charity Medal; Commonweal Magazine’s 2018 Catholic in the Public Square Award, LCWR 2011 Outstanding Leadership Award; the Cardinal Joseph Bernardin Award from Catholic Common Ground Initiative; and the Friend of Children Award from Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC. In 2010, TIME magazine named Sr. Carol one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” She has appeared on Modern Healthcare's list of “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare” for several years. In 2013, Sr. Carol was an Opus Prize finalist for successfully addressing the persistent social problem of inadequate access to health care.

Sr. Carol earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from St. Joseph's College in Emmitsburg, MD, where she graduated magna cum laude, and a master of science degree in business administration from the University of South Carolina, from which she received the School of Business Distinguished Alumna Award in 2000 and was honored in 2009 as an outstanding alumna. She has also received honorary doctorate degrees from: Catholic University of America in Washington, DC; St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y.; The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass; Niagara University in N.Y.; Marymount University in Arlington, Va; DePaul University School for New Learning in Chicago; University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn; Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in Winona; and Washington & Jefferson College of Washington, Pa.