Health Progress 100th anniversary

Join Health Progress in celebrating its centenary year! The first issue of the magazine, then titled Hospital Progress, was published in May 1920. A hundred years later there have been thousands of authors, articles and editorials, calls for action, special topics, visionary statements about the ministry and scholarly reviews of health care ethics. We hope you enjoy browsing through past covers and old ads from health care vendors. They provide a sense of how health care and the publication have evolved over the decades. Please check back for website updates throughout the year.

Health Progress Artist Profile - Cap Pannell

Painter and illustrator Cap Pannell, who has created images for at least a half dozen issues of Health Progress, takes us into his Dallas studio to show readers how he conceives and creates the illustrations he makes for the magazine. As Health Progress celebrates its 100th anniversary, we're proud to work with artists around the world who provide beautiful and thought-provoking original artworks to illustrate the special themes and articles.

Looking back on Health Progress

Form Follows Function: The Evolution of Mission Integration in U.S. Catholic Health Care

"Whether it be the sweeping eagle in his flight, or the open apple-blossom, the toiling work-horse, the blithe swan, the branching oak, the winding stream at its base, the drifting clouds, over all the coursing sun, form ever follows function, and this is the law. Where function does not change, form does not change. The granite rocks, the ever-brooding hills, remain for ages; the lightning lives, comes into shape, and dies, in a twinkling. It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic, of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and all things superhuman, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul, that the life is recognizable in its expression, that form ever follows function. This is the law.".

Back to the Future: Global Health at the Heart of CHA's Beginnings, Remains Priority

A review of the 100 years of Health Progress, the official journal of the Catholic Health Association, yields an interesting perspective on the ministry's involvement in global health and international outreach. There are three areas that from the beginning have been critical elements of CHA's ministry. First, CHA's original purpose was to assist the founding congregations with their ministries — developing better processes, infrastructure, expertise and standards of quality care. This purpose has remained a consistent theme throughout the past century and continues in our global health outreach efforts today. Secondly, it is noteworthy that some of the terrible diseases and types of outbreaks either were the same threats today, as in malaria, typhoid, cholera and tuberculosis, or were similar in scope and social context, such as polio was in the past and HIV/AIDS and Ebola are now. And the third element relates to CHA's geographic ties — there are a number of regions and countries around the world that played a part in CHA's activities over the past 100 years where our members have presence, relationships and commitments today. 

The Ethical and Religious Directives: Looking Back to Move Forward


In its 1920 inaugural issue, Hospital Progress stated as its mission: "to become the medium through which the best thought and practice in hospital service to the sick will be worked into the lives of those who are consecrated to this service." Despite an ever-changing health care environment over the past 100 years, the journal now named Health Progress has indeed communicated some of the best thought and practice on numerous facets of health care delivery in Catholic facilities. One of the ongoing areas of focus has been health care ethics. In fact, one of the earliest issues published the "Surgical Code for Catholic Hospitals for the Diocese of Detroit" which outlined acceptable and unacceptable surgical procedures from a Catholic ethical perspective. Since then, there have been hundreds if not thousands of articles and columns devoted to a vast range of ethical issues encountered in Catholic health care. To name just a few, these have included euthanasia and assisted-suicide, end-of-life care, reproductive matters, genetics, transplantation, environmental responsibility, organizational ethics issues, and the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs), the ethical code that provides moral guidance on aspects of health care delivery for Catholic health care facilities.

CHA, Advocacy and Health Reform: A Century of Progress


Much has changed since this journal began publishing in 1919. At that time, the then-Catholic Hospital Association was only 5 years old. Based in Milwaukee, Wis., at the time, it was founded as an outlet for the nation's approximately 600 Catholic hospitals to share operational best practices and ideas to help maintain their mission and identity. "Advocacy," or government affairs, was not one of CHA's core activities when Hospital Progress debuted in 1919. This was hardly surprising given the federal government's small role in the health care industry at that time. But over the course of the next century, the government's role and the role of health care organizations such as CHA would change dramatically, making advocacy one of CHA's top priorities.

CHA's Community Benefit Evolution Reaps Health Care Results


It was April 1988, my second week on the job and first board meeting. Policy expert Larry Lewin (may he rest in peace), was leading the Catholic Health Association board through recent attacks on hospital tax-exemption. A large nonprofit health system in Utah was being asked to pay state taxes for the first time. In Vermont, Burlington Mayor Bernie Sanders sent a local hospital a $2.9 million tax bill. Rep. Pete Stark, chair of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, was instrumental in taking away federal tax-exemption of nonprofit health plans.

Sponsors are Called to be Prophets and Reformers


Almost a quarter of a century ago, Health Progress published several articles on questions of Catholic identity and Catholic institutions by respected leaders in the ministry. Fr. J. Bryan Hehir wrote the first one in which he raised questions about institutional identity and described its three historical stages of institutional identity. Lawrence Singer and Sr. Helen Amos, RSM, echoed some of his concerns and raised questions of their own. We have learned a great deal since 1995, but we are still struggling with many of the questions Fr. Hehir, Singer and Sr. Amos raised. As Health Progress marks its 100th volume as a publication, I would like to recall some of their observations and suggest that we are now moving into a fourth stage of thinking about institutional identity and sponsorship.

Recommended Articles from the Archives

Health Progress by the Numbers

Health Progress covers through the years

Ads through the years

A look through our ads provides a glimpse of how health care, the workplace and technology have changed over time. Some of these ads, very much a product of their time, provide a snapshot of the past.