To foster the partnership between Catholic health care institutions and the Archdiocese of Denver, Archbishop Samuel Aquila announced the constitution of a new health care commission for the archdiocese.
“The commission will offer guidance, oversight and leadership in the area of Catholic health care,” according to a decree signed by Archbishop Aquila and Chancellor David Uebbing March 12, and ensure that Catholic identity is “treasured and cultivated.”
The commission will be chaired by Lynn Grandon, archbishop’s liaison for health care, program director of Catholic Charities’ Respect Life Resources and executive director of Lighthouse Women’s Center.
“Our role is going to be one of support, encouragement and education to the institutions and team members,” Grandon said, “to really reinforce Catholic medicine and the ‘why’s’ behind it.”
The commission will arrange quarterly meetings for peer dialogue among members that will include Catholic hospital administrative personnel, pastoral care providers, Catholic doctors, and leaders of ethics committees. They will also offer an annual medical symposium on relevant cultural issues to educate physicians and other health care providers on challenging health care issues, Grandon said.
Members of the commission’s executive leadership team were personally chosen and appointed by the archbishop for up to a five-year term. In addition to Grandon, they include: Kathryn Benes, director of Catholic Charities’ Regina Caeli Clinical Services; Christian Brugger, J. Francis Cardinal Stafford Professor of Moral Theology at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary; Dede Chism, perinatal nurse practitioner and co-founder of Bella Natural Women’s Care; Marilyn Coors, associate professor of bioethics and genetics in the department of psychiatry at the University of Denver; Kari Goerke, instructor at Loretto Heights School of Nursing at Regis University and Catholic Charities’ board member; and Deacon-Dr. Alan Rastrelli, board-certified in palliative care and medical director of Divine Mercy Supportive (Hospice) Care.
The group is also charged with ensuring the “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services” issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2009 is honored by employees of Catholic health care facilities in the archdiocese.