Press Release

Sister Mary Roch Rocklage Receives AHA Distinguished Service Award

The American Hospital Association (AHA) today presented its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, to Sister Mary Roch Rocklage, RSM, Chair of the Sponsor Council of the Sisters of Mercy Health System (Mercy) which sponsors integrated health care delivery systems, hospitals, physician practices and other services throughout Ark., Kan., La., Mo., Miss., Okla. and Texas. This award recognizes significant lifetime contributions and service to the nation's health care institutions and associations.

“Sister Mary Roch skillfully integrates faith-based ministry and health care, gently and compellingly reminding the field and its leaders of their roles as stewards of the nation’s hospitals and of their potential to serve others and make a difference in their communities and the world,” said AHA President Dick Davidson.  “This award honors Sister Mary Roch’s leadership and commitment in the health care field.”

Prior to becoming Chair of the Sponsor Council in 2004, Sister Mary Roch served as the Chair of the Board and for 13 years as Mercy’s first president and CEO.

Other professional activities include holding several university teaching positions.  She has previously served as chair of the American Hospital Association Board of Trustees and the Catholic Health Association of the U.S. and has served on the governing boards of numerous hospitals and health and education organizations, as well as serving as a participant on several governmental, religious and civic agencies, task forces and committees for health planning.

Currently, Sister Mary Roch serves as liaison for health care to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Ad Hoc Committee on Health Care and as a member of the National Coalition for Healthcare.

Sister Mary Roch Rocklage received her Bachelor of Science in nursing from St. Xavier College in Chicago and a Master of Hospital Administration degree from St. Louis University.

Gary Mecklenburg, CEO of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare in Chicago, will also receive the Distinguished Service Award this year.

About the AHA

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at

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