Editor's Note

January-February 2020

It's the new year, arrived with its customary feelings of hope. Within the first week of the new year, we mark the feast of Epiphany, which was built up from a few brief paragraphs in Matthew's Gospel into the familiar tale of wise men following a star and traveling a great distance in search of the new king of the Jews. You know about the gifts they brought and about a dream they had telling them to travel home by another route to thwart King Herod's plan to kill the child.

The wisdom figures symbolized by the Magi risked hardship, danger and failure in search of a new order. They mapped the skies, did the math and calculated the risks. They acknowledged that darkness and turmoil are sometimes the only ground in which new ideas and innovations take shape. They knew the old order wouldn't give up easily, but they trusted that what is about to be is so full of energy that it will risk making important mistakes in order to fashion new processes, new partnerships and new understandings.

This issue of Health Progress looks at what new developments are shaping the industry and the ministry. It explores ethical questions about gene editing, the wrangling over where data lives and who owns it, insights into the charisms needed to guide a new generation of lay leadership, emerging protocols for drugs only recently changed from illegal to legal status in some states, the use of simulation centers for clinical training and the heightened role of branding in a ministry market's identity. Challenges, you'd think, that were outside the purview of shooting stars and dreams in the dark.

There is much about health care that seems to be in a state of darkness or turmoil. Hospitals are closing, often in inner cities and rural expanses where populations are desperate for better and more accessible care. Technology is changing the professions of care in ways that dramatically alter the bedside focus, while still trying to keep the patient at the center of care. The national discourse about health care has moved from a debate to a free-for-all with so many competing health care plans that the options and consequences of any of them are hard for almost anyone to comprehend. With huge opportunities to monetize all kinds of services and equally large possibilities to flounder or fail, health care is a risky business. And as a ministry, we are in a transition we knew was coming, but the reality has yet to align with the vision.


We continue to celebrate Health Progress' 100 years with Bruce Compton's feature article about the ministry's initiatives in global health and international outreach. We hope you'll enjoy the story of CHA's early efforts in global health and how many of our members' international programs began decades ago with the same pioneer spirit and commitment to serving communities of people who need their care.

Our regular readers know that Health Progress is unusual in that we commission original illustrations for some of the articles in each issue. We are fortunate to work with very talented and creative artists. The illustrator for this issue is Cap Pannell, whose work has been featured in Health Progress many times. We're excited to share a video feature for our readers about Pannell and his artwork at chausa.org/pannell to give you a glimpse into his creative process and the steps to illustrate the journal.

We hope the One who makes all things new blesses you and the year just beginning. Onward!

Editor's Note Jan-Feb 2020

Copyright © 2020 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

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