Vision statement compels CHA to be force for change

July 2023


CHA debuted its first vision statement at the 2023 Catholic Health Assembly.

Developed through a collaborative process that began last fall, the statement is: "We will empower bold change to elevate human flourishing."

Introducing the language at the virtual gathering June 12-13, CHA President and Chief Executive Officer Sr. Mary Haddad, RSM, said, "Articulating a vision — a desired future — for CHA is a collective effort toward a future that serves the good of all, particularly those who are poor and vulnerable."

Sr. Mary explained in her remarks that it had become clear about a year ago as CHA's governing board and leadership team were preparing to launch the planning process for the association's next strategic plan, that it was necessary to put forth a vision for where CHA is heading, before a plan could be developed.

She said given the immeasurable change brought about by the global pandemic and other drivers, CHA is in a "time of transformation," and setting a vision for the future was necessary. So, last fall, CHA's board appointed a Vision Committee that has worked with consulting agency Tenfold Health over the ensuing nine months.

The committee and agency solicited the input of hundreds of CHA stakeholders, engaging them in discernment and discussion about the vision. That engagement involved surveys, interviews, focus groups and other discussions with CHA board members, board alumni, women religious, member sponsors, ministry executives, association executives and external partners and experts, among others. Based on their learnings, the committee and agency crafted the statement and checked that it resonated with members of the ministry.

CHA's board approved the statement just prior to the assembly.

Call to action
Just after his installation at the assembly as 2023-2024 CHA board chair, Damond Boatwright issued a call to action to the ministry "to unite around our new vision statement."

Boatwright, president and chief executive officer of Hospital Sisters Health System, told assembly attendees, "We have a higher mission in Catholic health care." He explained that what sets the ministry's mission apart from that of other providers is its belief that each person has intrinsic dignity and its commitment to addressing the needs of the vulnerable.

Partnered for change
Joining Sr. Mary and Boatwright on the Vision Committee that shepherded the creation of the statement were CHA 2022-2023 board chair Laura Kaiser; and CHA board members Cynthia Bentzen-Mercer, Dougal Hewitt, Fahad Tahir and Tina Weatherwax-Grant. Kaiser is president and chief executive officer of SSM Health; Bentzen-Mercer is executive vice president and chief administrative officer of Mercy; Hewitt is executive vice president/chief mission and sponsorship officer of Providence St. Joseph Health; Tahir is senior vice president, Ascension, and ministry market executive, Ascension Saint Thomas, part of Ascension Tennessee; and Weatherwax-Grant is senior vice president, public policy and advocacy for Trinity Health.

During the assembly, committee members shared insights on the vision statement's meaning. Bentzen-Mercer explained that the use of the word "we" reflects the collaborative nature of the work that is ahead. Not just ministry organizations but also partners outside of Catholic health care will be instrumental in the work, she said.

Weatherwax-Grant focused on the words "bold change" in her reflection. She said the committee envisioned radical, transformational changes to systems, including the U.S. care, payment and delivery systems.

Leading indicator
Hewitt spoke of how the reference in the new vision statement to "human flourishing" called to mind how the founders of ministry systems and facilities responded to the needs of their times in line with their commitment to ensuring that people could flourish more abundantly.

Kaiser elaborated that human flourishing is related to people's ability to reach their full potential. "This is what we mean when we talk about health equity. It is the idea that all people have an equal opportunity to achieve their God-given purpose," she said.

Kaiser added: "Through our shared Catholic ministry, we are in the business of advancing human flourishing."

Tahir said that as the committee had been deliberating during the development of the new statement, members reflected on past ministry milestones, such as CHA's leadership in advocating passage of the Affordable Care Act.

He said that looking at the history of CHA shows "we lead — we are the leading indicator of where health care ought to go in our country." The vision statement, he said, will help point the way to that future.

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