How CCIH Began and Evolved
CCIH began in 1987 as a forum for Christians concerned about global health to discuss areas of mutual interest. At first it was a gathering of Christians who met around the occurrence of the Global Health Council, and was known as the Christian Conference for International Health.
In 1992, CCIH leaders changed the name from the Conference of Christians for International Health to Christian Connections for International Health to retain its well known acronym and to reflect that networking was a major purpose in addition to an annual conference. Also during 1992, CCIH drafted bylaws, created a Board of Directors, selected a logo, and established new membership categories.
During the 1990s, CCIH developed a reputation for advocacy especially in the global response to HIV/AIDS. At first the global church did not speak with a clear and consistent voice about HIV, and was associated with increasing stigma. Over time, CCIH and many other organizations helped change that.
Later, CCIH adopted a role in leading the church on family planning – or what is better referred to as Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancies. CCIH worked with leaders in global institutions and church networks, helping improve dialogue with religious leaders and with faith-based organizations. Grants from USAID and private funders improved CCIH’s expertise in working particularly through Christian Health Associations.
More recently, members have highlighted the need for clear focus on Health System Strengthening. Improved focus on related but diverse topics such as leadership, supply chains, and evaluation gave rise to the need for clear focus on that.
CCIH has always been associated with its annual conference. For many years, CCIH met at Bishop Claggett facility in rural Maryland – a camp-like venue. Conferences moved to Marymount University for several years, and then to Johns Hopkins University. Each move brought increasing numbers of attendees and higher standards for professional event management. Beginning in 2020, CCIH moved the conference to a virtual format, which continues today, increasing the global reach of the conference and responding to public health concerns.