May 23, 2013

Sisters of Charity Health System Announces Leadership Transition

The Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, which is the founding religious community of the Sisters of Charity Health System, recently elected Sister Judith Ann Karam, CSA to the position of congregational leader. Also elected to serve with Sister Judith Ann are Sister Katherine Andrews, CSA as first assistant and Sister Marian Durkin, CSA as councilor. As a result of the elections, Sister Judith Ann has announced her resignation as the Sisters of Charity Health System’s president and CEO, effective July 26.

As Sister Judith Ann assumes her elected position with the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, she will be responsible for the spiritual leadership of her community and will engage the congregation in living out their charism fully into the future, carrying the Gospel message to those in need in the manner that God provides. Together with the elected team, she will be focused on community life, ministry, spirituality and the temporal affairs of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine.

“I am very happy to serve my congregation, which has been extending the healing ministry of Jesus to all of God’s people since 1851. In my new role, I will continue to give support to the Sisters of Charity Health System and its ministries, which carry forward our devotion to healing,” said Sister Judith Ann.

The Sisters of Charity Health System is the parent corporation of the entities founded by the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, which today includes five acute care Catholic hospitals, two skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, three grantmaking foundations, and six health and human services organizations in Ohio and South Carolina.

In light of her role as congregational leader, Sister Judith Ann will assume the role of chair of the Public Juridic Person of Pontifical Right (PJP) of the Sisters of Charity Health System. The PJP is the health system’s Catholic sponsor. Sister Judith Ann will also serve as a member of the Sisters of Charity Health System Board of Directors. Additionally, she will continue her participation on the Catholic Health Association of the United States of America Board of Directors, among many other national and local health and human service leadership commitments.

“Sister Judith Ann will remain involved in critical decisions impacting the future of the Sisters of Charity Health System’s mission to extend the healing ministry of Jesus and, recognizing her extensive health care expertise, she will provide guidance to the board as it continues to provide oversight of the system,” said Roger L. Mann, chair of the Sisters of Charity Health System Board of Directors.

“We celebrate Sister Judith Ann's vision and stewardship of the Sisters of Charity Health System for the past 15 years, during which time, this organization has expanded and grown to respond to the unmet needs of the communities we serve,” continued Mann. “During her tenure as president and CEO, the Sisters of Charity Health System has achieved much, including creating and later restructuring our joint ventures, expanding ministries and preparing for the future of health care reform. Today, the board sees positive trends in the fiscal operations and strategic direction to continue our faith-based mission in serving the needs of the communities we serve.”

In response to Sister Judith Ann’s transition to governance, the Sisters of Charity Health System Board of Directors and the PJP have appointed Terrence P. Kessler as the interim president and CEO, effective July 28 until a president and CEO is recruited. Kessler is currently general counsel and has previously served in many important capacities in the leadership of the Sisters of Charity Health System. Kessler joined the executive staff of the health system in June 2012 after having served as a member of the Sisters of Charity Health System Board of Directors from 1998 to 2012, including six years as chair. Kessler joined the health system staff following his tenure at Black, McCuskey, Souers & Arbaugh in Canton, Ohio, where he had been a shareholder since 1980. He joined the law firm in 1975 after graduating from Yale University and then The Ohio State University College of Law.

“Through 14 years of volunteer services and currently as general counsel for the Sisters of Charity Health System, Terry wholeheartedly embraces our mission and values, and he shares our vision for the future,” said Sister Judith Ann. “He has deep understanding of the dynamics of health care and the values of Catholic health care ministry. He understands the depth and breadth of the health system through his knowledge of the work of our foundations and community outreach ministries.”

The Sisters of Charity Health System was established in 1982 as the parent corporation for the sponsored ministries of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine in Ohio and South Carolina. The Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, since founding in 1851, continues a faith-based legacy of high-quality, compassionate care in partnership with its co-ministers, who are the heart and hands of the ministry.

The Sisters of Charity Health System solely owns four Catholic hospitals: St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio; Mercy Medical Center in Canton, Ohio; and Providence Hospital and Providence Northeast in Columbia, South Carolina. In a 50/50 joint venture with University Hospitals of Cleveland, the Sisters of Charity Health System also co-owns St. John Medical Center in Westlake, Ohio.

The Sisters of Charity Health System also oversees three grantmaking foundations located in Cleveland and Canton, Ohio, and Columbia, South Carolina. Each foundation sponsors significant community initiatives and collaborations that address causes and consequences of poverty.

Other health and human services and education-related organizations within the Sisters of Charity Health System include Joseph’s Home, a unique residential care center for homeless men in Cleveland; Early Childhood Resource Center for people working in childcare in all settings in Canton; Healthy Learners, a health care resource for children from low-income families in South Carolina; and the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families, a state-wide organization supporting initiatives to reengage fathers in the lives of their children.

The Sisters of Charity Health System also provides residential elder care services at Regina Health Center in Richfield, Ohio, and Light of Hearts Villa in Bedford, Ohio. Light of Hearts Villa is jointly sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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