Vision statement guides CHA's development of next strategic plan

September 1, 2023

The vision statement that CHA unveiled at the virtual Catholic Health Assembly in June is: "We Will Empower Bold Change to Elevate Human Flourishing."

The association developed the vision statement through engagement with the board, CHA members, staff and other stakeholders. Now, the association is undertaking an extensive process to build ministry consensus around the statement's meaning and then to apply that understanding as it sets forth its fiscal year 2025 to 2027 strategic plan.

CHA will present that plan to the board for approval at a May meeting. If the plan is approved, CHA will roll it out at the June 2024 Catholic Health Assembly in San Diego.

Sr. Mary Haddad, RSM, CHA's president and CEO, said the association developed the new vision statement because of the impact "challenging and changing times — particularly with COVID — have had on our members and Catholic health care in the U.S."

Sr. Mary said CHA's board recognized that "as we continue to serve in dynamic ways, we must constantly reassess how we approach our work." She said the board decided in 2022 that a new vision statement was necessary to guide CHA into the future and serve as a compass for its next strategic plan.

Katie Hurley, CHA vice president, general counsel and compliance officer, said CHA's board decided at the start of fiscal year 2023 to postpone its regular work of developing the next three-year strategic plan and focus instead on articulating a vision statement that could guide CHA's strategy going forward. Then-CHA Board Chair Laura Kaiser headed a special committee to shepherd the statement creation. Kaiser is SSM Health president and CEO.

Working with consultant Tenfold Health, that committee gathered the input of hundreds of association stakeholders in various venues and formats, then used that input to develop the statement. Using feedback the board provided in the spring, the special committee refined the elements of the vision to finalize a concise but impactful statement.

Hurley said, "The board's energy and alignment throughout the process and its unwavering affirmation of the final vision statement have put the board in a great position going into the strategic planning work that it will undertake."

CHA Chief Operating and Finance Officer Loren Chandler said CHA staff, under the direction of the association's executive committee, are helping the board to define in a comprehensive way what the three main pillars of the vision statement mean. Those pillars are "we will," "empower bold change" and "elevate human flourishing." Working closely with the board, CHA staff will then help to apply those definitions to the strategic plan. The association will engage member affinity groups, such as ministry CEOs, in this process. "We are taking our time to develop a strong foundation," Chandler said.

As it is developing the strategic plan, CHA also will be determining what its vision roadmap will be. The roadmap will be a projection of what success will look like by 2035 as the vision is pursued and what types of milestones the association will hit along the way.

Amy Ballance, CHA chief of staff, added, "Once the foundation is set with clearly identified strategic goals that support our vision, we can begin the engaging work of setting new priorities and work plans to achieve those goals."

Broad themes
While CHA is early in the process of defining the terms of the vision, setting forth the vision roadmap and building out the strategic plan, some themes are likely to emerge throughout the process, said Diarmuid Rooney, CHA vice president, sponsorship and mission services.

When it comes to the "we will" aspect of the work, the strategic plan is likely to reflect that CHA is pursuing work in community, and therefore will be seeking to build new and expanded partnerships that enable the ministry to achieve change. Such partnerships will involve community organizations, government agencies, religious congregations and Catholic Church leadership.

When it comes to empowering bold change, the strategic plan will seek ways to bring about systemic shifts that further the ministry's vision for health care that creates and sustains a strong, healthy national community. Such a health system will recognize health care as a human right. The ministry's work under this pillar will aim to ensure equitable access to essential health services across people's lifespans, with special attention to the needs of low-income and vulnerable people.

And when it comes to elevating human flourishing, the strategic plan will emphasize the common good and whole-person care. The plan will reflect that people's health and well-being are intertwined with the health and well-being of the broader community, with health care an essential element contributing to the common good. The plan will recognize that for human flourishing, health care must be seen in the context of social determinants of health including education, employment and a safe environment.

Shared goals
Ballance said there is much excitement within the ministry for the new vision statement and the opportunities to apply it to CHA's strategic work moving forward.

She said members of the ministry "will be able to use those strategic priorities to guide their organizations' strategic goals."

"Imagine the impact we can make in our communities if most of our members took on the challenge of bold change, connected their organizations' priorities with CHA's broader strategic plan and collectively worked together to achieve those shared goals," Ballance said. "Talk about bold change!"


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