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September-October 2016   |   Volume 97, Number 5

Globalizing Health Care

Catholic Health Care Ministry Is Anchored in a Global View

By: Bruce Compton and Diane Jones

Merits and misgivings related to globalization catapulted onto our mobile devices and into our conversations in June 2016 when Britain elected to leave the European Union in the historic "Brexit" vote. From this side of the pond, we watched the immediate political and financial fallout. "Britain just killed globalization as we know it," was a Washington Post blogger's headline. Yet for Catholic health care, globalization has deeper roots. It is a call, an invitation, an opportunity, which must be attended with the virtue of temperance.

This issue of Health Progress explores how globalization impacts health and health care in the United States and around the world. The dictionary definition of globalization, according to Merriam-Webster, focuses on the economic implications … " the development of an increasingly integrated global economy marked especially by free trade, free flow of capital and the tapping of cheaper foreign labor markets." Such a narrow interpretation misses the opportunity to celebrate globalization as a uniting of the human community, across oceans, mountains and national borders. Globalization calls us to an inclusive worldview — a global community of which we are all beneficiaries as well as stewards. Many view globalization as an issue about others, not necessarily about ourselves. However, globalization by all definitions is about the entire world, which includes us.

Dignity of the Human Person is Central to UN Sustainable Goals

By: Jean F. Duff, MA, MPH, and Helena Manguerra

Religious belief has long inspired service to others, particularly to the most poor and vulnerable. Some may say that religious groups are the original charity service providers, but now, in our increasingly globalized world, religious groups are far from alone in their focus on the global alleviation of poverty.

Who is My Neighbor? Compassion in the Age of Globalization

By: David G. Addiss, MD, MPH

Globalization can be deeply unsettling. Recent news headlines in the United States and the United Kingdom point to a pervasive and widespread sense of "globalization fatigue." The forces of cultural and economic globalization can threaten cherished identities, undermine long-held beliefs and endanger traditional ways of life. Globalization stretches us, makes us uncomfortable and moves — or dissolves — our boundaries. It also raises key questions about our capacity for compassion and to whom it should be extended.

Providence Health & Services: Partnerships Crucial to Sustainable Health Missions

By: Joel Gilbertson, JD, MPH

Each time I participate in a health care mission trip to Guatemala, I become more aware of what we take for granted in the U.S. On my most recent visit as part of a surgical relief team, it was mobility — specifically wheelchairs — that I mentally added to my list. 

Short-Term Medical Mission Trips: Research and Recommendations

By: Bruce Compton

Short-term medical mission trips invest millions of dollars and thousands of volunteer hours to provide people in the developing world with health care. The trips score high in terms of good intentions — but not necessarily in return on investment. Despite years of increasing popularity, health service trips have lacked a standardized evaluation process to assess patient safety, quality control and mission impact. Now, after two years of research and study, the Catholic Health Association has released 20 best-practice recommendations for U.S. organizations considering, conducting and evaluating short-term medical mission trips in low- and middle-income countries.

A New Generation of Global Health Professionals: Bridging the Health Divide

By: Katherine A. Taylor, Ph.D.

Global health is a relatively new enterprise. It arose in response to the need for global cooperation to address health concerns that transcend national boundaries. It differs from international health or public health in both motivation and approach — global health envisions a world in which all people have equal access to healthy lives, based on the principle that all lives matter. In approach, it encompasses and emphasizes dignity and respect for the individual, communities and nations.

Perspective - A Privileged Life

By: Sr. Patricia Talone, RSM, Ph.D.

When I was in first grade, our benevolent and portly pastor, Fr. Kelly, on one of his weekly visits to the first grade classroom, asked, "How many girls would like to be sisters when they grow up?" We all greatly admired our teacher, so every girl's hand shot up, waving in the air — save one.

"Miss Talone, why don't you want to be a sister?" he queried. Although a little intimidated, I answered that I had other hopes for the future, among them to travel and see the whole world. Fr. Kelly later recounted the exchange to my parents, warning them that I expected a privileged life.

Implementing Recommendations for Short-Term Medical Missions

By: Kelly Stuart, MD, MPH, MTS, MSNDR and Camille Grippon, MA

Although U.S. health systems and individuals have invested millions of dollars and countless volunteer hours on short-term medical missions, there are no overall standards for evaluating impact, patient safety and quality control. There also is no common system for selecting members of U.S. medical mission teams and preparing them for work in the host country's setting and cultural context.

Offshore Outsourcing and Catholic Social Teaching

By: Darren M. Henson, Ph.D.

In today's tech era, many health care organizations find offshore outsourcing an attractive option to support complex software platforms that manage electronic medical records. The tradition's concern for safe working conditions poses less of a concern in scenarios involving overseas workers who have post-secondary education and enjoy working environments akin to contemporary American-style corporate offices. Nevertheless, discerning the moral implications of offshore outsourcing requires great scrutiny, because stepping into the global economy can be fraught with complexities, implications for ethics and challenges to the church's vision of social justice.

CHRISTUS International Services: Why Latin America?

By: Joseph Barcie, MD, MBA

Because of the growing Latino population in the U.S., the increasing need for nurses from nursing schools in Mexico, the proximity of several CHRISTUS Health markets to the U.S./Mexico border and the international nature of our sponsoring congregations, there were compelling reasons in 2001 to enter into sincere conversations with the owners of Mexico's Muguerza hospitals about leading and growing two hospitals there.

Catholic Relief Services: Responding to the Ebola Crisis In West Africa

By: Michael Stulman

When a disease strikes and people are ill and dying, your instinct is to go and help, especially if you are a humanitarian worker at Catholic Relief Services. For a Catholic organization, the call is as clear as the commands of the Corporal Works of Mercy, based on Matthew 25: "For I was ill and you cared for me." During the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, helping was a complex task involving many nations, many organizations and many choices. Myriad factors go into planning any CRS emergency response, whether we are dealing with victims of an earthquake, a drought, a typhoon or a virus. We need to figure out exactly what people need — then, how that can be delivered.

The Church Helps Refugees Meet Unique Health Needs

By: Bill Canny

Did you know that the U.S. Catholic Church runs the world's largest refugee resettlement program? That since 1975 it has helped more than a million refugees start new lives in the United States?

Did you know that, right now, there are thousands of children, most of whom have experienced trauma and fled violence, living in our communities, pursuing asylum and who have no access to health care coverage?



Vatican II's Light Continues to Shine

By: Most Rev. George Leo Thomas, Ph.D.


Gifts, Grace and Sr. Patricia Talone

By: Sr. Renee Yann, RSM, D.Min.



Editor's Note

By: Mary Ann Steiner​

Ethics - If the World is Flat, What about Health Care?

By: Fr. Charles Bouchard, OP, STD

Mission and Leadership - Perfect Love Casts Out All Fear

By: Brian Smith, MS, MA, MDiv

Community Benefit - Impact on Climate Change and the Environment

By: Julie Trocchio, RN, MS, Ellen R. Tohn and Lauren Kleinman MA, MENR

Book Review - Flourishing: Why We Need Religion in a Globalized World

By: Sr. Annelle M. Fitzpatrick, CSJ, PH.D.