Guiding Principles

Guiding Principles for Conducting Global Health Activities

This CHA resource offers Catholic health ministry leaders and others who participate in global health projects six Guiding Principles for Conducting Global Health Activities.

Offering a modern day parable and Guiding Principles, this resource brings to life the richness of Catholic social teaching and tradition and inspires excellence and partnership in global health activities.
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CHA Guiding Principles 


Renewing Relationship – Essays as We Evolve and Emerge from Pandemic

CHA has curated a set of essays from highly-regarded theologians and public health experts to set the stage for collective consideration of how the complexities and challenges of the pandemic created an opportunity for us to rethink, reset and renew our global health relationships. While COVID-19 and the isolation we experienced creates many questions, they too, can provide us with renewed hope and inspiration to better conduct future global health partnerships. We hope you will take lessons from the time "apart" as a means of reflecting on future opportunities to be brother and sister to our global neighbors.
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Modern Day Parable for Pandemic
Modern Day Parable for a Pandemic

This modern-day parable by Fr. Michael Rozier, SJ, connects pandemic realities with global health activities, emphasizing true partnership.
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Want to learn more about each of the six Principles?

Bruce Compton, CHA’s senior director of Global Health, presents the Guiding Principles in a 30-minute webinar format.
Watch the recording now!

Share with your Board, Executive Team and Associates

So that you can easily facilitate an educational session with executive teams, boards or associates, CHA has developed two facilitation processes.

A 10-15 minute process for boards and executive teams
A longer session that is perfect for those who participate in international outreach programs and activities

A Modern Day Parable

An Adaptation of Matthew 13:1–23, Mark 4:3–20, Luke 8:4–15, The Parable of the Sowing
By Michael Rozier, SJ


A Reflection Guide for International Health Activities

This booklet is a resource for persons selected as volunteers for mission trips to low- and middle-income countries to help them reflect on the overall experience. Designed for individual or group use, its contents lead users through discerning participation, preparation for a trip, arrival, the days of the experience, leaving, re-entering normal life and remembering and remaining rooted in the experience. Each of its six sections includes questions for reflection, spiritual exercises, sources for additional information and inspirational quotes and poems. It also includes plenty of journaling.

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Download a PDF of the Booklet


Don’t just do it
Good judgment requires controlling our enthusiasm to do good so that we also do it well, even in times of emergency. Technical expertise is necessary but not sufficient for action. International activity requires many things, including assessment, planning and evaluation.


Know thyself, know thy partner 
There are many motivations for U.S. and international organizations to engage in international health activities. An invitation from a true partner who is part of the local community and its health system, knowledge and understanding of our respective motives and full transparency regarding our goals are all necessary if we are to do our best work.


Trust is earned and learned
Meaningful partnership requires a high level of trust and multiple lines of communication. Both U.S. and international partners must recognize that the other likely perceives risks in being totally honest. Both must listen for things said and unsaid, which takes both time and practice.


Build capacity, not dependency
We should neither conduct activities that a local community can do for itself nor participate in one-way financial giving. The process of getting to know your partner — in order to build capacity — often takes longer than expected and requires patience.


Best intentions do not equal best practices
Something is not always better than nothing. Low-resource settings do not permit lower standards. The high standards we follow in the U.S. — in delivering health care and developing partnerships — should not be set aside when working abroad. The laws of the country must be followed, the men and women providing services must be competent in their roles, and outcomes must be measured by quality, not simply quantity.


We all have something to learn
Partnerships marked by mutuality and respect build relationships where both the U.S. and international partners benefit and take away relevant lessons. True cultural competence is necessary for a two-way learning process in any development activity.