Sister Mary Haddad has been named the new president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association.
Haddad replaces Sister Carol Keehan, who led the organization for 14 years and leaves behind a respected legacy.
"I have some big shoes to fill," Haddad said on Tuesday.
Keehan will retire at the end of June and Haddad begins July 1. Haddad has been with the association since 2009, initially as the senior director of sponsor services and then promoted in 2016 to her current role as vice president of sponsorship and mission services.
Haddad said she's gotten to know the members well in her most recent position. Haddad works with board members to understand the relationship the provider organizations have with the church and how to carry out its mission. Catholic healthcare organizations operate under the Ethical and Religious Directives published by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, a document that outlines their principles.
"I have a pretty good grasp of what the needs are for our members and how to best support them going forward in this role," Haddad said.
As CEO, Haddad plans to continue her focus on improving the religious competencies of board members for Catholic healthcare organizations. More and more Catholic hospitals and health systems are led by individuals who aren't religiously ordained, Haddad said.
Caring for the poor and addressing social disparities are other areas she plans to focus on. Haddad is a trained social worker.
"Healthcare is now recognizing the fact that we must move from this clinical focus to the social needs focus," she said. "I have a lot of passion and experience and doing direct service in those areas."
Haddad was selected as the result of six-month recruitment process led by the board and supported by a search committee.
The Catholic Health Association represents the roughly 600 Catholic hospitals and 1,600 long-term care facilities in the U.S. Catholic healthcare organizations are the largest not-for-profit providers in the nation.