Navigating the Landscape of Catholic Health Care Ethics: A Program for Mission Leaders

Just in Time — Ethics Education Exclusively for Mission Leaders

CHA's ethics education program is designed exclusively for mission leaders in systems, facilities and regional organizations to support their critical role in the ministry.

Profound changes in health care, new business models, population health and delivery are transforming the face of health care in the U.S. and the Catholic health ministry.

These changes raise unprecedented challenges for mission leaders who are responsible for ethics within their organizations and for safeguarding Catholic identity.

The 12-month program from March 30, 2017 to March 9, 2018 consists of an ideal blend of in-person meetings and online sessions to accommodate busy schedules. The program begins with an in-person meeting and orientation March 30-31, 2017 in CHA's St. Louis office, followed by a series of eight online sessions that begin every six weeks. Each session may be completed during the six-week interval in which it is offered. The program culminates with an in-person meeting March 8-9, 2018, at CHA's St. Louis office to integrate learning. For your convenience, please view the complete schedule.

“I learned a lot during the year-long course, and it heavily influenced my decision to seek additional training in ethics at Loyola University. The connections made during the program were as valuable as the information. Strongly recommend to leaders new to Mission roles.”
- Philip J. Anderson, M.Div, BCC Director--Center for Spiritual Care, HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital, Eau Claire, Wisc.

“The online course was helpful. I found the case scenarios had a degree of details that forced me to look beyond the obvious and ask questions. The readings and our individual responses were reasonably paced. Personally the biggest help was the importance of online dialogue with the others in my group. Their thoughts furthered my thinking. I’m grateful that I was able to participate.”

- Sr. Monica Laws, OSF Vice President, Mission Integration, Hospital Sisters Health System, Springfield, Ill.

“I enjoyed the program and appreciate the opportunity for both in person and on-line education on healthcare ethics. The information was relevant to my role and provided helpful background to the decisions we face every day. The instructors were all very knowledgeable and the materials were useful.”
- Tracie Loftis Interim Vice President, Mission Integration, St. Vincent’s Health Care, Jacksonville, Fla.

Registration for this program has closed

How Will the Program Benefit Me?

The ethics education program will support new and experienced mission leaders by:

  • Providing a foundation in Catholic social teaching and moral principles and their relationship to health care.
  • Promoting an understanding of the complex ethical and moral issues facing the ministry.
  • Helping mission leaders recognize when and how to resolve ethical issues that arise within their organizations, and equally important, recognizing when to refer issues to a professional ethicist. 
  • Understanding and applying the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services and utilizing other ethical resources available to Catholic health care.
  • Learning how to facilitate the work of ethics committees.
  • Becoming familiar with ethics consults in acute, long-term care and community health.
  • Applying Catholic moral principles to real-world situations through case studies.
  • Networking with other mission leaders in a small group learning environment that is limited to 24 participants.

In-Person and Online: The Best of Both Worlds

Designed to accommodate mission leaders' busy schedules and to optimize learning and interaction, the program features a blend of in-person meetings and online sessions to understand key principles in clinical and organizational ethics. In addition to providing a foundation in Catholic social teaching and moral principles vital to Catholic health care, the curriculum will examine critical issues around beginning and end-of-life care, ethics committees, partnerships, shaping organizational culture, new frameworks for ethics beyond acute care settings and more. Faculty are noted ministry ethicists and theologians who have years of experience in Catholic health care ethics.


Rev. Charles Bouchard OP, S.T. D.
Senior Director, Theology and Ethics
Catholic Health Association
St. Louis

Rev. Jerry Coleman, SS, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor
Graduate Department
of Pastoral Ministries
Santa Clara University
Santa Clara, Calif.

Lynn Maitland, Ph.D.
Vice President, Mission and Ministry
St. John Medical Center
Westlake, Ohio

Susan McCarthy
System Director, Clinical Ethics
Ministry Health Care

Mark Repenshek, Ph.D.
Senior Director, Ethics Integration and Education
Ascension Health
St. Louis

Alan Sanders, Ph.D.
Vice President, Ethics Integration and Strategy
Trinity Health East Group
Newtown Square, Pa.

Sr. Patricia Talone, RSM, Ph.D.

MC Sullivan, RN, MTS, JD
Director of the Initiative for Palliative Care
and Advance Care Planning
Archdiocese of Boston

Rev. Tom Kopfensteiner, S.T.D.
Executive Vice President, Mission
Catholic Health Initiatives
Englewood, Colo.

Rev. Tom Nairn, OFM, Ph.D.
Senior Director, Theology and Ethics
Catholic Health Association
St. Louis

Certificate of Attendance

Please note CHA does not offer Continuing Education Units (CEU) for any programs. Participants will receive an email with information on how to acquire a Certificate of Attendance following the program (typically included in the program evaluation email). Certificates of Attendance may be submitted to relevant organizations that accept proof of contact hours as credit. These include:

American College of Healthcare Executives: American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) members may self-report qualifying CEUs using the contact hour information provided on their CHA Certificate of Attendance. To self-report, log in as a member on the ACHE site; use the link on the left-hand side to self-report applicable contact hours for CEU credit.

NACC Board Certified Chaplains: National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC) board certified chaplain members may self-report their continuing education hours (CEH's) using the contact hours information provided on their CHA Certificate of Attendance

For further information regarding Certificates of Attendance, please contact Danette Thompson, (314) 253-3408.

Cancellation Policy

The cancellation policy for the second cohort, Navigating the Landscape of Health Care Ethics: A Program for Mission Leaders is as follows:

  • Cancel by March 23, 2017, one week before the start of the program – 100% refund
  • Cancel after March 23 to May 22, 2017 – 50% refund
  • Cancel after May 22, 2017 – No refund

Should you need to cancel your registration, contact . There is no additional charge for substitute registrants.

CHA reserves the right to cancel the program based on enrollment.

Hotel and Travel

Expenses for travel and lodging for the in-person meetings at the start and end of the program are extra costs that are paid for by participants. Attendees are also responsible for making their own travel and hotel reservations. For your convenience, here is a list of hotels accommodating a variety of budgets that are conveniently located near CHA’s St. Louis office and Lambert St. Louis International Airport.

To arrange travel and or hotel accommodations through CHA's travel provider, please contact American Express at or (314) 253-3442. Be sure to identify yourself as an attendee at CHA's "Ethics for Mission Leaders" program. Attendees are responsible for airfare, hotel and all air/hotel penalties.

View all Hotel and Travel Information


To learn more, contact program director Rev. Tom Nairn, OFM, Ph.D., CHA Senior Director, Theology and Ethics, (314) 253-3465.