March 2003


Core_Growth Photo

by Peggy Egan, OSF, PhD Vice President, Mission and Healthy Communities, Catholic Health Initiatives

This issue of Initiatives marks the beginning of a series of features that share information about how market-based organizations are working to build healthy communities. But first, we must address the question of why Catholic Health Initiatives focuses on building healthy communities rather than simply building health care institutions. The foundation for all Catholic ministry, including health care, is to make God’s presence known in the world. Our mission is to be a healing and reconciling presence in our world. The congregations that founded our ministries understood this very well. They examined the signs of their times and responded by opening clinics in mining towns, bringing the sick into their convents or nursing on the battlefields of the Civil War. The signs of our times call us to understand that health care is more than medical care, and as health care providers, we must go beyond the walls of our institutions to serve our communities. In addition to these mission-based foundations, there are valid business reasons for building healthy communities. With all the issues we encounter regarding quality, staffing shortages and diminished public perception, we need to be positioned as organizations that care for more than just our own survival. Working to build healthy communities is a proven image-builder for health care providers. This work enhances employee pride and invites other organizations in the community to join in. So, to answer the question of why Catholic Health Initiatives works to create healthy communities is quite simple: our mission, our heritage and our good business sense call us to this important work. To help market-based organizations achieve their healthy community goals, Catholic Health Initiatives offers proven tools, resources and guidance, including this seven-step process for building healthy communities:
  • Organizing the Effort
  • Convening the Community
  • Creating a Shared Vision
  • Assessing Current Realities and Trends
  • Action Planning
  • Doing the Job (Implementation)
  • Monitoring and Adjusting
For more information on the seven-step process or any aspect of building healthy communities, contact Peggy Egan at