The Cabrini International Health Commission (IHC) was established by Sr. Barbara Staley MSC, former General Superior of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as a direct result of reflection and discernment by Missionary Sisters and lay colleagues at the XVth General Chapter of MSCs held at Sao Paolo, Brazil (2014).
Purposes of the IHC
The Chapter resolved to explore new forms of governance, and the International Health Commission is an example. The purposes of the IHC are:
- To advise the Superior General regarding the extent to which Cabrini health missions reflect Cabrini charism, contemporary health and social services delivery models, and Cabrini strategic direction arising from the XVth General Chapter resolutions;
- To evaluate performance and provide support to existing health missions around the world;
- To ensure that the focus of all Cabrini health missions is the healing mission of Jesus, with the delivery of holistic health service and a particular attention to the vulnerable and needy.
International Health Meetings
The IHC held its first meeting in May 2017 in Rome.
With the generous support of Cabrini Australia, the IHC sponsored its first International Health Meeting in Melbourne in August 2018.
Representatives from Cabrini health service organizations in Argentina, Australia, Ethiopia, Eswatini, and Guatemala attended for the two day meeting as well as workshops and training with Cabrini Australia colleagues before and after the meeting. Indigenous Australian representatives from the far north of Australia (Apunipima) and colleagues from Papua New Guinea also participated in the meeting.
For the future, the IHC will approach Provincial Superiors and Councils for their endorsement of visits to each of the Cabrini health service organisations around the world over the coming two years. The IHC hopes to hold another International Health Meeting in 2021.
The Voice of the IHC
Members of the International Health Commission
Sister Barbara Staley MSCFormer General Superior
Sr. Barbara Stely MSC was born in 1958 in Buffalo, NY, USA. She holds degrees in social work and science education, and studied theology in Rome. Her first apostolate was in poor communities in Guatemala and her work has always been strongly focused on society’s marginalised people. From 1995 to 2004, she was Director of Program CIELO at St. Anthony Hospital Chicago, an agency providing healthcare and social service access for immigrants. Sr. Barbara also took on the role of Director of Child Care Services and Administrative Services (Finance) at Cabrini Ministries Swaziland, Africa, for ten dedicated years.
Sr Barbara Staley MSC was named the ninth Superior General of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus from 2014 to 2022.
Sister Stella Maris Elena MSCGeneral Councilor
Sr. Stella Maris Elena MSC was born in Rosario (Santa Fe), Argentina where she completed her studies – initial, primary, and secondary – at the “Madre Cabrini” School. She graduated with the title of National Normal Teacher in 1968 with psycho pedagogical and Religious Sciences studies.
In 1990, she entered the MSC Congregation. She became the Director of the Santa Rosa School in 1991. After spending her Novitiate in Guatemala, she returned to Argentina in 1994, continuing with the Legal Representation and the Direction of the Santa Rosa College until the end of 2000.
In 2001, Sr. Stella Maris became Regional Superior of Argentina and then Regional Superior of Argentina/Paraguay. She now lives in Rome and has been General Treasurer from 2016 to present, ans General Councilor from 2017 to present.
Cath Garner has had a career in Australian healthcare spanning over three decades, including a total of 25 years at Cabrini, mostly recently as Group Director of Mission and Cabrini Outreach Limited. She was appointed Mission Integration Officer in 2002, and had the pleasure of joining the Executive Committee of Cabrini in 2007.
Having specialised in nursing, education, management, and theology, Cath maintains a deep-rooted knowledge and understanding of the social and clinical determinants that shape our society.
She currently holds the role of Chair of the MSC International Health Commission and works as Director of Learning and Innovation at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.
Sister Concepcion Vallecillo MSC
Sr. Concepcion Vallecillo MSC studied Ecclesiastical Science, Philosophy, and Theology at the Comillas Pontifical University in Madrid, Spain. During her time there, she also volunteered with Doctors of the World for nearly two years, providing medical care for Moroccan immigrants
She graduated from the University of San Carlos of Guatemala in 2003 with a diploma in Legal Medicine and a Master in Public Health with an emphasis in Community Health Services Management.
From January 2009 to August 2014, she was MSC Director of General Coordination of Community Health Services, where she was involved in the design of projects to combat intrafamily violence. In June 2014, she took on the additional role of MSC General Assistant for Latin America. She has also spent a year teaching at Rafael Landívar University in Guatemala.
Sr. Concepcion is currently the Director of Cabrini Guatemala and is on the Advisory Committee for MSC CAMEX SMP
Sister Oxana Costanza Peretrukhina MSC
Sr. Oxana Peretrukhina was born in Vladivostok, Russia, and joined the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 2002. During her religious formation, she made missionary experiences in Brazil, Guatemala, Spain, and Russia.
She graduated from the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome, Italy, in 2015 with a degree in Nursing. Since 2018, she has been in Villa Amelia, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, as a nurse of the Mother Virginia health centre..
Doctor Fergus Kerr
Dr. Fergus Kerr has held roles in the Health and Medicine field since he was appointed Emergency Physician and Toxicologist at Austin Health in 1997.
In 2007, he undertook a new challenge as Director of Emergency Medicine, and in 2011 he extended his leadership roles by taking up the Medical Directorship of the Medical and Emergency Clinical Service Unit.
Wanting to develop his leadership capacity more formally, Fergus went on to complete his Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College for Medical Administrators. Following this, he took on the role of Executive Director of Medical Services at Peninsula Health. In 2016, he returned to Austin Health in an Executive position as the Chief Medical Officer.
Holding a strong interest in Toxicology, Fergus spent two years undertaking specialist training at the University of Pittsburgh, USA, and was pivotal in establishing the Victorian Poisons Information Centre at Austin Health. He has previously been an examiner with the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine and up until January 2018 continued to practice clinically.
Dr. Kerr is currently the Group Director of Medical Services and Clinical Governance at Cabrini Health in Melbourne, a position he has held since August 2019 – having joined Cabrini Health from Austin Health in November 2018.
Doctor Ariel Pablos-Méndez
Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez is a Board-certified internist (internal medicine physician) trained at Cabrini Medical Center in New York, NY, USA. He has written over 100 publications and been on several boards and international commissions, including the Epidemiology Section Program Planning Committee for the American Public Health Association (1998), the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (1999), and the LEAD Committee for Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons (2018-Present).
He has held the positions of Director of Knowledge Management at WHO (Geneva, Switzerland) and Managing Director for International Health at The Rockefeller Foundation (New York, NY), and in 2011, was appointed by President Obama (with US Senate consent) to lead USAID’s bureau for Global Health.
Dr. Pablos is currently a Doctor of Medicine at the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York, NY, USA, where he specializes in Internal Medicine. He received his M.D. from the University of Guadalajara’s School of Medicine and his M.P.H. from Columbia University.
Professor Mario C. Raviglione
Professor Mario C. Raviglione is among the 10 most cited authors worldwide in the Tuberculosis (TB) field, having written nearly 500 publications and been cited over 55,000 times. He is considered to be in the top 100 Italian scientists and top 25 Italian epidemiological scientists.
A Turin University graduate, he trained in internal medicine and infectious diseases at Cabrini Medical Center in New York, USA, as well as in infectious diseases and AIDS at Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston, USA. From 2003 to 2017, he was Director of the Global Tuberculosis Programme at WHO. He has worked with over 50 countries worldwide and has received several awards and honors celebrating his achievements, including the Princess Chichibu TB Global Award (2005) and the USAID Global Leader Award (2017).
Professor Raviglione has been a visiting professor and teacher at Johns Hopkins, Harvard, McGill, Sydney, Geneva, Liverpool, Pavia, Modena & Reggio Emilia, and Brescia. He was named Honorary Professor at the Queen Mary University of London, UK, and was Professeur Titulaire at the Global Studies Institute, University of Geneva, in 2019 and 2020. In addition to the IHC, he participates in a variety of boards and committees, including the TB Alliance, Doctors with Africa CUAMM, BE Health Association, and McGill Global Health Programs International Advisory Board.
He is currently a Professor of Global Health at the University of Milan, Italy, where he directs activities focused on global health at the Multidisciplinary Research in Health Science Centre (MACH) and is devoted to teaching global health principles to undergraduate medical students, making the University of Milan the first in Italy to introduce global health as a module among the required courses. Professor Raviglione is also currently coordinating the establishment of the first international online Master Course in Global Health in Italy and Europe.
Doctor Giuseppe Tansini
Dr. Giuseppe Tansini worked as head of the Medicine Department at Casa di Cura (CdC) Columbus in Milan, Italy, from 1977 to 2016. During his time there, he was also responsible for the Institute of the MSC Hospice affiliated with H.L. Sacco Polo University and located in Columbus (2001-2016) and was the Health Director of the RSA S. Francesca Cabrini of Codogno (2003-2016). With a degree in Medicine and Surgery, specializing in Internal Medicine, he still continues as medical consultant for Cabrinian management and professional training.
Since 1997, he has shared the Cabrinian charism with the Institute of the MSCs as a collaborator and lay co-responsible both in the health and missionary fields. He participated as a Cabrinian layman at the General Chapters of the Institute held in Rome (2002), Codogno (2008), and San Paolo, Brazil (2014).
Dr. Tansini has been President of the “Associazione Missione Cabriniana, oggi,” ODV, since 2015, which carries out voluntary activities at national level for the international Cabrinian missions. In 2019, he visited the mission of Dubbo in Ethiopia and St. Phillip in Eswatini.