Foundations of Catholic Health Care Leadership — An Online Course for Formation and Development


Understanding the foundations of Catholic health care ministry is an essential competency for today's leaders. Executives, board members, directors and managers who work in Catholic health settings are leaders of a ministry. For this reason, an understanding of the church's theological roots, social justice tradition and ethical framework is essential for the successful leader.

The Foundations of Catholic Health Care Leadership Program is used as a primer for new leaders in Catholic health care. Thousands of leaders have attended this program for more than two decades either through their own health system or through CHA's in-person or online format. This program is a "must-have" for all leaders in Catholic health care.

The online course takes place in a series of sessions on six consecutive Fridays lasting up to two hours each. Each session will include up to two presentations, as well as opportunities for interaction via online chat, voice contact and online small group discussions. Since each session focuses on a key principle of Catholic health leadership, registrants are expected to participate in all sessions to benefit from the wealth of insight and information that is covered during the entire program. Assignments and reading materials will be available for download prior to each session. An orientation session to familiarize participants with the online format is scheduled for Feb.7 from noon to 1 p.m. CT.


To enhance interaction and benefits of the formational experience, we recommend that registrants participate together with colleagues in groups at the same facility if at all possible. This encourages quality interaction and immediate application of the online program content.

The program is also extremely beneficial to persons who participate as individuals in cases where there isn't an opportunity to have a group at the same facility. Persons who participate individually will be linked electronically with individual participants from other locations for all group discussions to maximize everyone's opportunity to benefit from group learning and interaction.

After attending these sessions, participants will be able to:

  • express the relationship of the ministry of Jesus Christ to the work of Catholic health care.
  • describe the elements that define Catholic health care as a ministry of the Church.
  • identify the key principles of the Catholic Social Tradition.
  • describe issues dealing with organizational ethics, including issues around collaborative ventures.
  • apply the Ethical and Religious Directives, Parts 1 and 6, to develop and assess specific policies.
  • utilize the Ethical and Religious Directives, Parts 2, 3, 4 and 5 as a leadership resource.
  • apply the Ethical and Religious Directives, Parts 2, 3, 4 and 5 to provider/patient relationships and to specific issues at the beginning and end of life.
  • communicate the importance of community benefit as part of Catholic health care service.
  • identify opportunities for international outreach and the role of the mission leader in those collaborations.
  • develop a plan for ongoing development as a ministry leader in Catholic health care.
  • articulate important challenges on the horizon for Catholic health care and their implications for leaders of this ministry.


Registration for this program is now closed.
Questions? Email CHA or call (800) 230-7823.

Who Should Participate?

  • Executives
  • Board members
  • Directors, managers and middle managers
  • Clinical staff
  • Pastoral care staff
  • Communications and marketing staff
  • Persons serving in leadership of partner organizations


Fr. Charles Bouchard, OP, S.T.D., Senior Director, Theology & Ethics, CHA, St. Louis
Bruce Compton, Senior Director, International Outreach, CHA, St. Louis
Sr. Mary Haddad, RSM, MSW, MBA, Vice President, Mission Services, CHA, St. Louis
Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, RN, MS, President and Chief Executive Officer, CHA, Washington, D.C.


Fr. Tom Nairn, OFM, Ph.D., Senior Director, Theology & Ethics, CHA, St. Louis
Brian Smith, MS, MA, M.Div., Senior Director, Mission Integration and Leadership Formation, CHA, St. Louis
Julie A. Trocchio, MS, Senior Director, Community Benefit and Continuing Care, CHA, Washington, D.C.

Certificate of Attendance

A Certificate of Attendance, indicating program contact hours, will be available to program participants upon request after the completion of the event.

To request a Certificate of Attendance, please contact Danette Thompson, (314) 253-3408 with participant name and program attended.

Please note CHA does not offer Continuing Education Units (CEU) for any programs. Participants may submit Certificates of Attendance 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.



Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017                
Noon – 1:00 p.m. CT  

Orientation & Intro to Online Platform
Fr. Charlie Bouchard, OP, S.T.D.  & CommPartners

Session 1

Feb. 10, 2017
Noon – 2:00 p.m. CT

Jesus, The Foundation of Catholic Health Care
Brian Smith
The healing ministry of Jesus is the core of our mission. In this session we will look at Jesus as a model of servant leadership and the role of sacred scripture as a spiritual touchstone for leaders. How do we reconcile the central role of Jesus in our ministry with the increasing diversity of our associates and patients?

Health Care as a Ministry of the Church
Sr. Mary Haddad, RSM
What do we mean when we say health care is a ministry? What is the relationship of Catholic health care to the broader ministry of the church, including the heritage of the religious women and men who founded and nurtured the health ministry in the United States? What do call, vocation and lay ecclesial ministry mean to me as a leader?

Session 2

Feb. 17, 2017
Noon – 2:00 p.m. CT

Social and Organizational Ethics (ERDs Parts 1 &6)
Fr. Tom Nairn, OFM, Ph.D. and Fr. Charlie Bouchard, OP, S.T.D.
Catholic Social Teaching is the"public face" of the church's moral tradition. This session will introduce the key principles of this tradition and discuss ethical issues around collaborative ventures.

Session 3

Feb. 24, 2017
Noon – 2:00 p.m. CT

Clinical Ethics and Discernment (ERDs Parts 2, 3, 4 and 5)
Fr. Tom Nairn, OFM, Ph.D. and Fr. Charlie Bouchard, OP, S.T.D.
The Ethical and Religious Directives (ERDs) define the moral and ethical framework for Catholic health care in the United States. What do we mean by “Ethics”? How does our understanding of ethics play out in provider/patient relationships and in specific issues at the beginning and end of life?

Session 4

March 3, 2017
Noon – 2:00 p.m. CT

Community Benefit 
Julie Trocchio
Community benefit programs are designed to improve health and increase access, especially for the poor and vulnerable.  They are an essential part of our mission and the basis of our tax exemption.  This session will present the basics of planning, monitoring, reporting and assessing community benefit.

International Outreach
Bruce Compton
Catholic health care has always transcended national boundaries, but in today's global environment, international outreach, rooted in the imperative to preach the Gospel to the "ends of the earth," has taken on new importance. This session will help leaders see how CHA's outreach activities support members, partnering organizations and the church. It will also help leaders to see how they can enhance their own international health activities.

Session 5

March 10, 2017
Noon – 2:00 p.m. CT

Stewarding Organizational Culture 
Brian Smith
Leaders are "culture bearers" who hold the organization's integrity in trust and shape its culture.   This session will help participants learn how to use leadership principles as tools for maintaining a distinctive Catholic culture.  It will also explore how various spiritual practices can strengthen a leader's personal and professional growth.

Session 6

March 17, 2017
Noon – 2:00 p.m. CT

Leadership in Catholic Health Care 
Sr. Carol Keehan, DC
This session will outline important opportunities and challenges on the horizon for Catholic health care and their implications for leaders of this ministry.