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Stand 4 Presents Health Care Advocate Sr. Keehan


Sister Carol Keehan, DC, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), was the keynote speaker at the University of San Francisco Stand 4 Conference Nov. 23.

The Stand 4 Conference, sponsored by USF’s University Ministry, recognizes religious and spiritual leaders whose actions symbolize a life of courage, commitment, and advocacy of the poor and marginalized who often find themselves without a voice. These leaders are committed to addressing fundamental inequalities and injustices in the areas of social justice, peace, civil rights, education, public health, and environmental justice.

This year’s conference focused on health care. Sr. Keehan and her organization, representing 59,000 Catholic nuns and more than 50 heads of religious congregations and organizations, were recognized for taking a vocal stand in calling on U.S. lawmakers to vote for the health care reform measures passed by Congress earlier this year – putting them at odds with U.S. bishops.

“Sr. Keehan and the Catholic Health Association didn’t do the easy or politically expedient thing in supporting health care reform,” said Enrique Bazan, University Ministry associate director. “They did, however, do what was right and what was just for millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans.”

Sr. Keehan and organizations like CHA attend to needs that no one else does, Bazan said. “They go to the frontiers and we need to learn from them,” Bazan said. “Success in their lives is not measured by how much they acquire in terms of wealth, status, and prestige, but by what they do for the people who are in the middle of violence, poverty, captivity, and human suffering.”

“As president and CEO of CHA, Keehan is a recognized expert in her field and has held administrative and governance positions for more than 35 years in hospitals sponsored by the Daughters of Charity,” said Gary McDonald, USF spokesman. “She has devoted her life to ensure that the poor and the vulnerable receive adequate access to health care and is imminently qualified to discuss health care in America.”

In a letter to Congress, CHA acknowledged that health care reform was imperfect, but advocated support because it would expand coverage to 30 million Americans, invest in preventative care, and bar insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, all while not providing taxpayer funding for elective abortions.

Written by Edward Carpenter »usfnews@usfca.edu