July/August 2000

Consortium Serves the Human Family Through Support of International Missions

The Catholic Consortium for International Health Services is providing a vehicle for collaboration and support of the international mission work of its members, which include Catholic Health Initiatives and its market-based organizations. The Consortium, which has been active since last fall, now comprises 60 percent of the Catholic health care organizations in the United States. "The Consortium gives all of us a way to do more international mission work more efficiently," said Peggy Egan, OSF, vice president of mission integration for Catholic Health Initiatives and a member of the Consortium’s steering committee. "By coming together, we can do more with our precious human and financial resources." The Consortium has already established a new warehouse and connected three others around the United States that can accept pharmaceuticals and other small supplies for international missions. The steering committee is also working to develop a Leadership Immersion program to train leaders for mission work in third world countries. In addition, the group is in the process of creating a directory of international health services provided by Catholic health systems and religious congregations throughout the United States. "This directory will facilitate networking between people and groups who are involved in international mission work and those who would like to become involved," said Sister Peggy. "The directory will provide connections that will help coordinate projects between organizations, which will conserve resources." When completed, the directory will be distributed to mission leaders throughout Catholic Health Initiatives. Sister Peggy stressed that the Consortium is not intended to replace or take over the international mission work of its members, but to support and strengthen that work. "The member organizations have agreed to collaborate to meet a shared goal of more effectively responding to the health care needs of the sick and poor, wherever they may be found," she said. To help support its members’ international missions, the Consortium will work toward the following goals:
  • Developing a comprehensive education and communication program.
  • Serving as a clearinghouse for identification and sharing of project and resource information.
  • Identifying and developing collaborative projects and programs with members and other interested organizations.
  • Engaging in limited advocacy on specific issues within member organizations and externally, as mutually agreed upon by the members.
  • Examining opportunities for collaborative funding and fund development in support of selected projects.
The Consortium is already exploring ways to secure funding for international mission initiatives in the form of alternative investments from health care systems and religious congregations. Sister Peggy said that the steering committee is enthusiastic about the Consortium’s accomplishments to date as well as its potential. "It’s a wonderful opportunity for all of us to better serve the human family through collaboration," she said. "We would like to develop and grow until we represent 100 percent of the Catholic health care organizations in our country so that we can all maximize the resources available for international mission work." Consortium Members Catholic Health East, Newtown Square, Pa. Catholic Health Initiatives, Denver, Colo. Catholic Health Partners, Toledo, Ohio Catholic Medical Mission Board, Brookfield, Wis. Catholic Relief Services, Baltimore, Md. Mercy International Health Services, Farmington Hills, Mich. Seton Institute, Daly City, Calif. Sisters of Providence Health Systems, Seattle, Wash. Excerpt from the Catholic Consortium for International Health Services Statement of Purpose Global solidarity is action on behalf of the one human family. Global solidarity binds the rich to those people who are sick and poor. It drives the comfortable, and those of us who are secure and free, to take risks on behalf of the victims of tyranny, war and oppression. Ultimately, peacemaking is the work of global solidarity and it is within this context that the Catholic Consortium for International Health Services was formed. We believe that we are called to serve the needs of people who are poor and sick, without regard for boundaries or borders, creed or ethnicity. We are committed to a world health system that promotes the right of health for all. We will strive to act on behalf of the one human family, as a matter of justice, which calls us to help overcome the divisions in our world in mutual recognition of our sisterhood and brotherhood.