Speakers

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Fr. Charles Bouchard, OP, S.T.D., is senior director, sponsorship and theology, at the Catholic Health Association. He assists the Catholic health ministry nationwide as an author, educator and consultant on the Church's theological and ethical teaching. He is also executive editor of CHA's quarterly online publication, Health Care Ethics USA.

Prior to joining CHA, Fr. Bouchard served as provincial of the Dominican Province of St. Albert the Great from 2011 to 2015, and as vice president for theological education at Ascension Health from 2008 until 2011. Prior to Ascension Health, Fr. Bouchard served as president and associate professor of moral theology at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis for 18 years.

He writes and lectures on issues in health care, health care ethics, Catholic identity in sponsored institutions, and the intersection of political life, religion and faith. Articles include "Health Care as Ministry: Common Usage, Confused Theology" (Health Progress, May-June 2008), "Whatever Happened to Sin: Virtue, Friendship and Happiness in the Moral Life" (New Priory Press, 2013), "Sexuality and Morality: Questions for Modern Catholics" (Liguori Publications, 2014), "Vatican II and Health Care: What Did Leaders Think Would Happen?" (Health Progress, November-December 2015), and "Ethics – The Virtuous Nurse" (Health Progress, January-February 2016).

Fr. Bouchard entered the Dominicans in 1974 and was ordained in 1979. He completed doctoral studies in moral theology at The Catholic University of America in 1987.

His main interests include health care ethics, Catholic identity in sponsored institutions, and the relationship between morality and public policy.



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Rev. Jennifer Cobb is executive director of mission and spiritual care for Mercy, St. Louis, a Midwestern health system with physical locations in four states that provide virtual care to more than 20 states and serve over 1 million people annually.

Previously, she served as director of Mercy mission and spiritual care and interim vice president of mission at Mercy Northwest Arkansas. She also served as director of chaplaincy and pastoral care at Seton Medical Center, Harker Heights, Texas. Rev. Cobb also has experience as a hospital staff chaplain.

Integrating her business education with her clinical chaplaincy skills, for the last 12 years, Rev. Cobb has advocated for the inclusion of spiritual care in the inpatient, ambulatory and virtual care settings and focused on elevating the discipline of spiritual care so that the one-on-one bedside experience translates into health care strategy.

Rev. Cobb has presented at national conferences on topics such as spiritual care in the outpatient setting, using an EHR system to identify inpatients who need a chaplain’s specialized care and the essentials of mission leadership.

She is a member of CHA’s Pastoral Care Advisory Committee.

She holds an master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix, and a masters of divinity degree from Southern Methodist University Perkins School of Theology.


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Bruce Compton is senior director of international outreach for the Catholic Health Association of the United States. He is based in the association's St. Louis office. Mr. Compton is responsible for assisting and supporting CHA-member organizations in their outreach activities in the developing world. His duties include facilitating collaboration among CHA-member organizations and others, seeking to enhance the impact of international ministries. Additionally, he is responsible for education regarding international outreach issues and encouraging CHA members' participation in various activities of international ministry.

Mr. Compton lived in Haiti from 2000 to 2002, and he continued to work in support of health missions in the developing world after he returned to the U.S. He did so in his capacity as founding president and chief executive of Springfield, Ill.–based Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach, a ministry organization bringing surplus medical supplies from Midwest hospitals to medical missions in the developing world.


Shawn Eaker

Shawn Eaker is vice president of mission initiatives for Ascension. He has held this position since December 2015. In this role, he has responsibility for fostering the integration of Ascension's Catholic identity within its structures and strategic initiatives; leading identity assessments throughout Ascension's ministry markets; and working with Ascension subsidiaries in a mission integration capacity.

Prior to his appointment to this position, he spent the previous 20 years in progressively responsible financial operational areas from public accounting to industry finance. Much of this time was within the health care sector in publicly-traded settings.

Mr. Eaker holds a master of business administration from Washington University and a master of arts in Theology from Lincoln Christian University. He is a graduate of the Ascension/Aquinas Institute of Theology's Executive Ministry Leadership program, is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) and is completing a certificate in Bioethics from Loyola University, Chicago.


Sr Mary Haddad

Sr. Mary Haddad, RSM, a member of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, is the 10thpresident and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA). She assumed the position in July 2019, succeeding Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, upon her retirement.

Sr. Mary leads CHA's mission to support and advance the health ministry of the Catholic Church in the United States with its network of hospitals, long-term care facilities and community health centers that represent the largest group of nonprofit health providers in the nation. She is based at CHA's headquarters in Washington, D.C. and oversees the association’s St. Louis office.

In conjunction with CHA's Board of Trustees, Sr. Mary leads the association's strategic planning and develops initiatives to support CHA member organizations in providing high-quality, accessible health care to people of all ages, races, faith traditions and ethnic groups from conception to natural death.

She also directs CHA's national advocacy initiatives to protect life, promote the well-being of communities, address social determinants and disparities, develop new models of health delivery, protect Medicaid, Medicare and other vital safety net programs, and create a just health system that works for everyone, particularly poor and vulnerable persons. She has overall responsibility for administration and program development in areas of advocacy, mission, sponsorship, ethics, community benefit, leadership development, ministry formation, international outreach, and relationships with bishops and other leaders of the Catholic Church.

Prior to her selection as president and CEO, Sr. Mary served as CHA's vice president of sponsorship and mission services since 2016. In that capacity, she directed critical areas of sponsorship, mission, ethics, leadership development and ministry formation, including development of numerous educational programs, resources and collaborations with member health systems, universities, social service agencies and community groups. From 2009-2016, she served as senior director of sponsor services and initiated CHA's Sponsor Formation Program for Catholic Health Care to prepare members of ministerial juridic persons to carry out their canonical responsibility as stewards of the health ministry of the Catholic Church.

Her previous experience includes serving on the regional leadership team of the Sisters of Mercy, St. Louis and working in areas of health care, social service and education, including service in Belize, Central America, and Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies.

Sr. Mary received her master's degree in business administration in health care from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., and a master's degree in social work from Saint Louis University. She has a bachelor's degree in education from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill. She is a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the honor society of Jesuit Institutions of Higher Education.

She is a board member of Mercy Housing.


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Nathaniel Blanton Hibner, Ph.D., is director of ethics for the Catholic Health Association of the United States. In this role, he provides research and suggested implementation of the church's moral tradition for CHA member organizations in areas of clinical and organizations ethics. Together with CHA's senior director of theology and ethics, Nathaniel creates educational and formational programming on moral theology and its relationship to current topics for the Catholic health ministry.

Prior to joining CHA in 2017, he attended the Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics at Saint Louis University, where he researched organizational ethics, bioethics and Catholic health care ethics. He also taught an undergraduate course on Foundations in Health Care Ethics. He is currently finishing his dissertation for the joint Ph.D. in health care ethics and moral theology at Saint Louis University. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science and theology and a master's degree in theological studies from Boston College. He also has a master's degree in health care ethics from Saint Louis University.


Julie Jones

Julie Jones is vice president of mission and ministry at Mercy St. Louis. In her role, Ms, Jones oversees Mercy's formation programs, processes, resources and evaluation; provides mission leadership for Mercy Virtual Care and Mercy Technology Services; and provides executive oversight for pastoral services and archives. Additionally, she contributes to strategic initiatives led by human resources, facilitates formation experiences for leaders and co-workers, coaches/mentors new and high-potential leaders and assists in development of organizational policy. She has facilitated strategic planning with various groups both within Mercy and other organizations.

During her tenure at Mercy, Ms. Jones has served on the Catholic Health Association's Pastoral Care Advisory Committee and on the Ministry Leadership Formation Advisory Committee for Presence Health. Additionally, she has contributed to the ministry through presentations at the CHA Assembly (2012), the National Association of Catholic Chaplains' conference (2013, 2014), and with the Spiritual Care Champions Program (2012, 2013, 2014), and with published articles in Health Progress.

Prior to joining Mercy, Ms. Jones served at the Catholic Health Association and in long-term care administration. She has also worked with public policy, leadership development and completed a two-year volunteer program. She is active in her parish, St. Margaret of Scotland.

Julie holds a master of arts degree in pastoral studies and a graduate certificate in spiritual direction from Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis. She completed Mercy's Leadership Certificate Program through Saint Louis University and earned a bachelor of arts degree from Washington University, St. Louis.


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Laura Kaiser is president/chief executive officer of SSM Health, St. Louis. In her role, Ms. Kaiser leads a Catholic not-for-profit health system serving communities across the Midwest through a robust and fully integrated health care delivery system. SSM Health includes 23 hospitals, more than 290 physician offices and other outpatient and virtual care services, 10 post-acute facilities, comprehensive home care and hospice services, a pharmacy benefit company, a health insurance company and an accountable care organization.

Ms. Kaiser joined SSM Health as president/CEO in May 2017, bringing 30-plus years of experience in health care strategy, improving clinical quality, fueling innovation, managing operational performance and growth, leading change management and successfully facilitating health care integration.

Previously, Ms. Kaiser served as executive vice president and chief operating officer for Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City, Utah. She also served at Ascension Health in a number of senior leadership roles including regional executive for the Gulf Coast/Florida region and president/CEO at Sacred Heart Health System in Pensacola, Fla.

Ms. Kaiser currently serves on the boards of Nuance Communications and the Scottsdale Institute, as well as on the American Hospital Association Health Strategy and Innovation Committee and the St. Louis Regional Business Council.

She earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Missouri and both a master of business administration degree and master of health care administration degree from Saint Louis University. Ms. Kaiser is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, and in 2018 was named one of the "100 Most Influential People in Healthcare" by Modern Healthcare magazine.



Carrie Meyer McGrath_150

Carrie Meyer McGrath is director of mission services for the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA). She is located in the association's St. Louis office, where she supports the work of the Mission Services department through research, writing and program development. She also serves as the staff liaison to the Pastoral Care Advisory Committee and manages CHA's online prayer resources.

Prior to joining CHA, she was a formation specialist from 2013 - 2017 at Mercy in St. Louis. Her responsibilities included managing the development and distribution of formation materials for all levels of the organization as well as creating and leading formation training sessions with ministry leaders. Working with local and system mission leaders, she led development of metrics that helped demonstrate connections between formation, co-worker engagement and patient satisfaction.

In 2013, Ms. Meyer McGrath received a master's degree in spirituality from Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky., as well as a master's degree in divinity from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, graduating with honors from both programs.

From 2006 – 2010, she worked in Catholic education in St. Louis and in Louisville as a classroom instructor, curriculum designer and campus minister in developing and implementing cross-disciplinary curriculum.



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Patrick McCruden is chief mission integration officer for SSM Health, St. Louis. In his role, Dr. McCruden is responsible for leading the strategic integration of SSM Health's mission, values, vision and Catholic identity into all aspects of SSM Health. He works closely with regional mission leaders to establish effectiveness measures for mission, ethics and compliance, as well as to identify best practices and initiatives across the system.

Dr. McCruden brings more than 35 years of Catholic health care experience to SSM Health, including 20 years as a mission leader in Iowa and Arkansas. Most recently, he served as senior vice president and chief mission officer for Catholic Health Initiatives-St. Vincent, a four-hospital health system in central Arkansas. He is a board-certified chaplain and also an ordained permanent deacon in the Catholic Church.

A native of New York, Dr. McCruden holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., a master of theological studies from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, and a master's degree in bioethics and health policy and a doctorate in bioethics from Loyola University Chicago.


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Michael Miller Jr. is system vice president of mission and ethics for SSM Health in St. Louis.
Through more than 10 years of progressively responsible mission leadership roles within Catholic health care, Mr. Miller has established himself as an effective health care executive and colleague. By providing ministry formation, clinical ethics consultation, mission discernment facilitation and community benefit leadership, he empowers health care leaders to manage the tensions — and embrace the opportunities — of operating a health care business as a ministry of the Catholic Church.

Mr. Miller has presented at regional and national conferences, has advocated for health policies that promote the common good at all levels of government and has led and participated in many community health collaborations.
He has served in parish ministry and taught high school theology.

Mr. Miller earned a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from Loyola University New Orleans, a master of arts degree in theology from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis and a master of arts degree in bioethics and health policy from Loyola University Chicago.


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Diarmuid Rooney is senior director of ministry formation at the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA). He assists the Catholic health ministry with thought leadership and subject matter expertise in ministry formation. Responsibilities include providing strategic direction in the design, development and implementation of a ministry formation strategy; collaborating with key stakeholders to develop an integrated approach to formation; and assisting in the implementation of projects related to Catholic identity.

Prior to joining CHA in 2018, Mr. Rooney served for eight years as vice president, formation and communication technology, at the Ministry Leadership Center in Sacramento, Calif. The Ministry Leadership Center was established in 2004 to expand and enrich executive health care leaders' commitment to the Catholic tradition's mission, vision and values. His key focus was co-designing and facilitating innovative leadership formation programs that transformed leaders personally and professionally, enabling them to deliver cultural transformation for their organizations. Previously, Mr. Rooney was regional director of mission formation for Providence St. Joseph Health and Services in Oregon (16,000 associates), where he provided organizational leadership for cultural transformation to sustain the work of the founders and ensure the presence of core values in all aspects of today's ministry.

During his active role in ministry since 1991, Mr. Rooney worked with the Christian Brothers and was a Benedictine monk in Ireland. He trained as a clinical psychotherapist at St. Vincent's Hospital in Dublin. He co-founded and directed a community-based counseling and psychotherapy center, where he provided individual and group therapy, facilitation and organizational consultancy. He subsequently served as director for the Mercy Conference and Retreat Center in Burlingame, Calif., sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy.

Mr. Rooney's professional experience includes cultural analysis, organizational development, clinical psychotherapy, retreat direction, pastoral counseling and program development specific to adult education. He holds master's degrees in both theology, from the Jesuit School of Theology, Santa Clara University, and clinical psychotherapy, University College Dublin, School of Medicine. He is particularly interested in how these disciplines impact the culture of spirituality in the workplace. He also holds degrees in business and social administration (University College Dublin); philosophy and politics (University College Dublin) and is a member of the Alpha Sigma Nu, the Honor Society of Jesuit Institutions of Higher Education.


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Brian P. Smith is vice president of sponsorship and mission services for the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA). Prior to his appointment in July of 2019, he was CHA's senior director of mission innovation and integration, a position he held since 2012.

As vice president of sponsorship and mission services, Mr. Smith leads and oversees the association's Mission Services department, which focuses on mission integration, leadership formation, theology and ethics, ministry formation and sponsorship. He consults with sponsors, CEOs, board members, ministry leaders and Church officials to advance the mission of Catholic health care in the U.S. and collaborates on strategic planning. He serves on the association's core leadership group and senior management.

Mr. Smith promotes a vision and understanding of Catholic health care as an essential ministry of the Catholic Church while at the same time recognizes the ever-changing health care environment and the challenges and opportunities that poses. He serves as a CHA spokesperson on sponsorship and mission issues, in conjunction with Sr. Mary Haddad, RSM, CHA's president and chief executive officer, and maintains relationships with other national organizations and CHA members. He also oversees the development of diverse educational programs, resources and initiatives for association members.

His diverse professional background encompasses theology, pastoral care, mental health, political advocacy and accountability. Prior to joining CHA he served as vice president of mission integration for the CHRISTUS Spohn Health System, a six hospital regional health system based in Corpus Christi, Texas, and a member of CHRISTUS Health. Before his regional position he was vice president of system mission at Mount Carmel-St. Ann's Hospital, part of the Mount Carmel Health System, in Columbus, Ohio, a member of Trinity Health. His career in mission is preceded by 15 years in parish ministry and service at the Department of Special Education of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He has also served as a federal auditor with the Government Accountability Office.

He earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science with a minor in business administration from St. Louis University; a master of arts degree in divinity and a master of arts degree in New Testament scripture from Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis; and a master of science degree in clinical psychology, with an emphasis in child and adolescent development, from St. Louis University.


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Julie Trocchio is senior director of community benefit and continuing care at the Catholic Health Association of the United States. She is based in CHA's Washington, DC office.

Ms. Trocchio carries out programmatic and advocacy activities related to community benefit, tax exemption, environmental sustainability and long-term care. She also is the CHA liaison to the executives of state Catholic health associations and conferences.

Before joining CHA in 1988, she was director of delivery of services at the American Health Care Association in Washington, DC, a nonprofit organization that represents long-term care facilities. Ms. Trocchio also was a public health nurse for the Montgomery County Health Department in Rockville, Md., and has worked as a staff nurse for a hospital and nursing home facility. Ms. Trocchio earned a bachelor's degree from the Georgetown University School of Nursing in Washington, DC, and a master's degree from the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore.


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Ann Varner is chief mission integration officer for St. Vincent Ascension Indiana. She previously served as vice president of mission integration at Ascension Senior Living. Ms. Varner has more than 25 years of health care experience. She served in various roles at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, including vice president of mission services, patient relations and patient satisfaction and medical social worker.

Ms. Varner has served on the board of directors as vice chairman for Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service in St. Louis, and as a volunteer with People for Progress Health Committee and the Catholic Health Association Education Advisory Committee.

Ms. Varner holds a bachelor of social work degree from Creighton University, Omaha, Neb., and a master of social work degree from Saint Louis University. She has a master of arts in health care mission degree from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis.