October 7, 2008

Catholic Health Organizations Launch Ministry-Wide Effort to Raise Awareness About Global Climate Change

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA) -- in conjunction with Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), Denver; Covenant Health Systems, Lexington, MA; and Trinity Health, Novi, MI -- is launching a ministry-wide effort to raise awareness about global climate change.

Through receipt of a $20,000 grant from the National Religious Partnership for the Environment (NRPE) and the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, the four organizations will undertake a year-long initiative to develop educational programs and build collaborative activities. The goals are to respond to energy efficiencies within health care facilities as well as to explore the health care impact on persons who are poor and how Catholic health care might better respond.

"For many years, Catholic health care organizations have been leaders in reducing waste and the use of mercury in order to reduce environmental toxins which pose hazards to us all, but especially to children," said Julie Trocchio, CHA senior director, continuing care ministries. "Now Catholic health organizations are taking another step forward in environmental stewardship by addressing the issue of climate change and what each facility can do to decrease its energy consumption and move to clearer energy sources."

Working together, CHA, CHI, Covenant and Trinity will provide leadership for others in the ministry by:

   --  Developing resources that include an educational booklet and other       instructional and motivational materials on climate change   --  Presenting information about climate change and what Catholic health       care can do to mitigate the problem   --  Assembling a faculty of experts available to mentor facilities       motivated to decrease energy use and emissions.   --  Creating an action plan for decreasing energy consumption and       emissions in the health care organizations as well as in the work and       personal lives of associates.   --  Collaborating with other organizations to build consensus and       replicate successful practices that decrease energy consumption.   

Catholic health care organizations have an opportunity to take a leadership role in showing how hospitals and other health care organizations can reduce the use of energy and emissions that contribute to climate change. Some recent examples of initiatives by Catholic health systems and/or facilities include:

   --  Purchasing only Energy Star-qualified computers.   --  Using wood from forests with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)       Certification in new construction.   --  Finding low/no cost measures in gas and electrical power to address       organizational behaviors that contribute to climate change.   --  Joining climate action registries.   

This grant provides the Catholic health ministry another opportunity to advance the health of the communities it services by addressing crucial environmental concerns.

The Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), founded in 1915, supports the Catholic health ministry's pursuit of the strategic directions of mission, ethics, and advocacy. As the nation's largest group of not-for-profit sponsors, systems, and facilities, the ministry is committed to improving the health status of communities and creating quality and compassionate health care that works for everyone. For more information, visit the CHA website at http://www.chausa.org/.

The Catholic Health Association

CONTACT: Fred Caesar, Special Assistant to the President -Communications of The Catholic Health Association, +1-202-721-6321,[email protected]

Web Site: http://www.chausa.org/