History Print {sharethis label=}
Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH) was organized in 1987. It grew out of the National Council for International Health (NCIH, now Global Health Council), a leading global health professional organization. Although several Christian organizations were founding members of NCIH, by the mid-1980s, some Christians found the NCIH conference had grown so big that it was not addressing their particular interests and concerns.
 
These Christians began to find each other and organized separate sessions just prior to the annual NCIH conference to enable them to identify with each other, as well as to establish a Christian presence at the NCIH conference. In 1987 the National Council of Churches convened a meeting of denominations at Stony Point, New York, to learn from each other about their current perspectives and future plans for medical missions. This cemented the annual tradition of a gathering, named Conference of Christians for International Health (CCIH), held just prior to the NCIH (now GHC) annual conference. These conferences evolved from meetings at the same hotel to conferences of several days at nearby venues. The annual conference remains a highlight of the CCIH year. Since 1998 conferences have been held in Maryland just north of Washington, DC, first at the Wellspring Conference Center (Gaithersburg, 1998-2005) and then at the Bishop Claggett Center (Buckeystown , since 2006). For more information on CCIH Annual Conferences, click here
 
After meeting annually for several years, CCIH became a formal organization with by-laws and a Board of Directors in 1992 and, keeping the same acronym, was renamed Christian Connections for International Health. It was incorporated in 1999 in the state of Virginia and obtained the status of a legal, non-profit organization.
 
CCIH remained a small but dedicated group of organizations (generally around 20) and individual during its first decade or so, focusing on its mission of information sharing and networking, with the annual conference being the focal event. All of work was done by committees of volunteers. With the new millennium however, came an awareness of the work of faith-based organizations as well as the realization of Christian individuals and organizations working in international health that working together would enhance their ability to be good stewards of their resources and would provide support for their mission. Non-Christian organizations expressed a desire to connect with the faith-based network that CCIH represented and so in 2005, CCIH established an Affiliate relationship to accommodate them. The value of a membership organization like CCIH became more widely known, and by 2010 CCIH had 132 Christian organizational members and 33 affiliates, as well as several hundred individual members.
 
With this increase in membership and notoriety and the corresponding opportunities presented to CCIH, came the need to hire staff. Ray Martin became CCIH’s first Executive Director in 2000, working mostly on a volunteer basis. CCIH hired its first full-time staff person in 2005 and currently has a staff of six, in addition to the Executive Director. Ray Martin retired in 2014 and the Exeutive Director position is now held by Garrett Grigsby. The organization still benefits from and is grateful for the dedicated volunteers who support its ministry.
 
From the beginning, CCIH leaders saw the need for networking and fellowship within the community of Christian international health professionals as well as a continued interaction in secular professional circles in order to demonstrate the continued presence of the faith community. CCIH began exhibiting in secular as well as Christian and interfaith gatherings such as the NCIH (GHC – since 1993), the American Public Health Association (since 1999), international AIDS conferences and the Global Missions Health Conference. It strongly encourages its members to also become active in this way in order to reach beyond their “comfort zone” to connect with others. Toward this end CCIH also developed contacts with the U.S. government and multilateral agencies (e.g. World Bank, WHO, UNAIDS, UNAIDS, Global Fund for AIDS/TB/Malaria) and has attended diverse meetings and events in order to ensure that the voice of the faith community is heard.
 
To enhance communication, CCIH developed an e-group on the Ecunet web; in 1997 it developed its own website, and in 2001 established email listservs. In 2005 a monthly e-bulletin was established, providing information of interest to its members. From 1997 to 2003 it published 13 issues of The CCIH Forum for members to develop themes of interest to members and to provide a forum for members to share their experiences and thoughts.
 
Around 2000, CCIH also began to research critical issues in Christian international health, publishing them for both the faith-based and secular professional community. Some of the topics addressed were the future of Christian hospitals in developing countries, the Christian response to the HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria, the ABC approach to preventing the sexual transmission of HIV, and Christian attitudes and actions in family planning.
 
CCIH remains committed to its mission of information sharing and networking to promote the work that Christian international health organizations and individuals are doing globally in order to enhance their ability to take advantage of resources and partnerships that will increase their reach and effectiveness. In addition, CCIH has added advocacy to its list of activities as a way of raising awareness of the health needs of people around the world and the desire and the ability of the faith community to meet those needs. 
Last Updated ( Thursday, 09 June 2016 16:30 )