In the News


Working Together to Distribute Free Prescriptions to Those in Need

Houston, TX – January 23 San José Clinic and Dispensary of Hope joined with local elected officials, dignitaries, and supporters, including partners from the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry to celebrate a five-year-long collaboration which has provided free prescription medication to nearly 10,000 Houstonians every year, Christopher Palombo, Chief Executive Officer of Dispensary of Hope, announced today.

“Delivery of healthcare to the uninsured continues to be a challenge nationwide,” said Palombo.  “This partnership, through which prescription medication is made available to those in need, is a one-of-a-kind collaboration.  Our friends at San José Clinic show how local and national groups can work together effectively to fill a dire gap; and at the same time extend the reach of charity care dollars to help more people.”

All across the nation, between 28-30 million Americans are uninsured, of whom nearly 14 million are at or below 200% federal poverty level for household income. This creates significant barriers to care and medication access, and disproportionately higher chronic disease risks. People that do not have access to their medication suffer more and find themselves in the Emergency Room more, but when they do have access to medicine the cost burden to the healthcare system goes down and lives are saved and transformed.

Palombo continued, “Nearly 10,000 residents in the Houston and surrounding 20 counties benefit from the free prescription medications available through this partnership.  And it simply would not be possible without the continued support of 30 pharmaceutical manufacturers who provide us with the medicine that we distribute to over 200 sites nationwide.”

The Dispensary of Hope is a Nashville, TN-based national non-profit organization dedicated to providing pharmacies and charitable clinics with reliable access to vital medication for the poor. All medication is generously donated by pharmaceutical manufacturers.


Houston Catholic hospitals, clinics fight to end human trafficking

HOUSTON — While many may be aware of Houston as a hub for sex trafficking, the crime may occur right in front of them in Galleria-area hotels or suburban school campuses rather than just shady motels plagued by drugs.

To train people, especially medical staff, to become aware of the crime and how to report it, Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), one of the largest nonprofit, faith-based health systems in the nation, leads a campaign to prevent and intervene in human trafficking, said Kimberly Williams with Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center Mission/Spiritual Care Department.

Project coordinator of the Human Trafficking Initiative, Williams said, “Many times the one common ground for these survivors is in the emergency room for being assaulted or injured in some way. We are training 7,000 health care providers on how to identify and intervene.”

Now with a federal grant of $649,560 to be used over the next three years, the effort builds on the Greater Houston Area Pathways for Advocacy-Based Trauma-Informed Healthcare (PATH) Collaborative founded by St. Luke’s Health, which includes Baylor College of Medicine, Ben Taub Hospital, Doctors for Change and San José Clinic.

May Cahill, executive director of St. Luke’s Foundation, said, “Thanks to the support of our national organization’s mission and ministry fund, we were able to launch the pilot program at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in 2016. The initiative is a priority for our leadership, and now with our newest grant we are moving to expand and grow the program across our Texas division.”

“I am proud of the role our organization plays in this work,” Cahill said. “As we came to understand the magnitude of the trafficking problem here in Houston, it became clear that as the only Catholic health system in the region, we had a responsibility to address the issue.”

With January being Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Williams, Cahill and other members of the PATH Collaborative recently toured those medical facilities to meet the doctors and nurses on the frontlines trying to close the gap for patient care of human trafficking survivors.

Among those on the tour, Jennifer Peuplie, advocate for the Texas Forensic Nurse Examiners, said an average of four survivors a week and at times up to 10 a week are treated at Houston-area hospitals.

She accompanies many of the patients to provide comfort and support as they answer questions such as “Do you feel safe in your environment?” To rescue minors, police are called, but adult survivors need to make that decision on their own, she said.

Another tour member, Rachel Fischer, an ER and forensic nurse who specializes in training against human trafficking, gave a typical scenario. She said most of the time, a pimp or trafficker will be with the patient to maintain control and guard what is being said.

“Don’t make it seem like an interrogation. You can just ask like you’re making conversation — ‘Oh, that’s a cool tattoo. Where did you get that one?’ She may say, ‘Miami.’ ‘How about that one?’ ‘New Orleans’ and you can see that she’s being moved around,” Fischer said.

To get her away from the guard who may say he’s the boyfriend or husband, Fischer said staff can explain that the patient needs to be taken for an X-ray or other diagnostic tests and no one else is allowed.

Once alone with the patient, staff can provide the hotline number to Rescue Houston at 713-322-8000 or the national toll-free number of 1-888-373-7888 to let them know they can escape what is basically modern-day slavery, she said.

“But many of them don’t think they deserve any better. They’ve been groomed by their pimp who says he loves them and will take care of them. They buy them what they say is a Gucci purse or even a puppy so they will get emotionally attached and not want to leave,” Fischer said.

But patients can at least be armed with the hotline number to consider in the future. They can be told there are shelters like the Santa Maria Hostel that provide detox for any addictions as well as mental health counseling available.

“It’s a long recovery process in many different ways. One girl was found with multiple hotel key cards in her possession. Many times multiple credit cards have been taken out in her name, so credit has to be restored,” Fischer said.

From 2007 through 2016, Houston had 3,634 substantive calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, the highest call volume in the U.S. Last year, law enforcement arrested more than 650 human traffickers in the Houston area, according to the collaborative.

Once they break free of trafficking, survivors need education and job training that collaborative partners hope to provide or refer, Williams said.

“There is also a similar initiative to replicate such a collaborative at the border in the Rio Grande Valley since that area is a big part of the supply and demand for trafficking,” she said.

San José Clinic, a health ministry of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, will also begin training its staff on human trafficking awareness, said Maureen Sanders, San José Clinic president and CEO.

Taking the group to tour the clinic at 2615 Fannin, Sanders and San José Clinic Medical Director Diana Grair, MD, said they were unsure whether any of their patients had been victims of human trafficking. Most of the San José Clinic patients are women 18 years and over with the average being a 47-year-old Spanish-speaking Hispanic female, they said.

In 2018, the clinic served 3,762 uninsured patients in 30,548 visits to provide quality health care to the uninsured while relying on 914 volunteer medical and dental providers, Sanders said.

As part of grant funds, the clinic will be hiring a bilingual licensed professional counselor or perhaps work with Catholic Charities to provide counseling to human trafficking survivors, she said.

Other events for Human Trafficking Awareness month include members of the collaborative speaking at college campuses, including the University of Houston main campus on Jan. 17 and the University of St. Thomas on Jan. 23.



San José Clinic honors dental and medical providers at 12th Annual Art with Heart

Join His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, STL and Event Chair Madonna Barfoot for a night of art, jewelry, generosity, and compassion at San José Clinic's 12th Annual Art with Heart on Thursday, May 2, 2019 at the Ballroom at Bayou Place, located at 560 Texas Avenue in downtown Houston.

At this extraordinary event, we will be honoring our volunteer dental and medical providers, represented by James Lloyd DDS and Mary Neal MD, with the Portrait of Compassion Award. We honor them for their generous donation of time and talents to fulfill our mission of providing quality, affordable healthcare to the uninsured and uninsurable in our community.

Art with Heart, San José Clinic’s signature event, will feature live and silent auctions of artwork from talented local and renowned artists, curated by Patrick Palmer, Faculty Chair and Dean of the Glassell School of Art, MFAH, artist Didi Garza, and the art committee. You will also discover beautiful jewelry, unique experiences on the Big Board, and more. It promises to be an exciting night for a wonderful cause!

Since our inception 97 years ago, San José Clinic has grown and changed with the city of Houston to find the best ways to care for those in need through collaboration, partnerships, and clinical advancement. Last year, the Clinic provided more than 30,000 medical, dental, pharmacy and specialty visits with the dedicated generous support of our partners and donors like you.

Sponsorships range from $600 - $25,000. Tickets are $175 each. For tickets or sponsorships, please visit or contact Cristina Herrera at or 713.490.2620.

Thank you to our February 2019 Volunteer of the Month: Dr. Joseph Dusek!

After retiring in 2016, Dr. Dusek felt his skills as an oral surgeon would be helpful to the patients of San José Clinic. With the high demand for oral surgery procedures, Dr. Dusek volunteers weekly to care for patients at our dental clinic. We greatly appreciate Dr. Dusek's dedication to our mission.

San José Clinic Hosted its Annual Portrait of Compassion Reception

On Wednesday, February 27th, supporters of San José Clinic gathered for the third annual Portrait of Compassion reception. During the evening, Maureen Sanders, President and CEO of San José Clinic shared an overview of the Clinic’s 2018 accomplishments and the path ahead to our 100th anniversary in 2022. 


“In 2018, we served 3,762 patients resulting in a total of 30,548 patient visits. We are truly grateful to our collaborative partners and academic affiliates for their continued partnership; and to our dedicated 914 volunteer medical and dental providers, who provided 34,204 hours of service last year to fulfill our mission of providing quality affordable healthcare to the uninsured and uninsurable in our community,” announced Maureen Sanders, president and CEO of San José Clinic. “As the demand for our services grow, we are increasingly challenged to increase our staff and resources and prepare for the future. We now focus our attention forward to expanding into Fort Bend County and embracing growth. We are confident in the direction we are moving and look forward to making a greater impact in the community.”


At the event, Maureen Sanders, His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo and San José Clinic’s Board Chair Mary Cronin presented the Volunteer of the Year award to Mr. Louis Wu. Mr. Wu has been a volunteer physician assistant at San José Clinic since 2010. He volunteers at the Clinic every Friday to help care for patients with limited access to healthcare.


The Good Samaritan of the year award, an annual employee award, based on nominations from the Clinic was presented to Duigne Galvez. Duigne Galvez has been working at San José Clinic as a medical assistant since March 2017. She is committed to her work and has over 18 years of experience working in the medical field.


Maureen Sanders shared, “We look forward to San José Clinic’s 100-year anniversary in 2022. We pride ourselves on upholding the legacy of our founders by continuing to provide quality healthcare services for individuals and families in the Greater Houston area who struggle the most with accessing care.”



Caption: Portrait of Compassion reception featured from left to right: His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Volunteer of the Year award recipient Mr. Louis Wu, Maureen Sanders, President and CEO of San José Clinic and Board Chair Mary Cronin.

Caption: Portrait of Compassion reception featured from left to right: His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Good Samaritan of the Year award recipient Duigne Galvez, Maureen Sanders, President and CEO of San José Clinic and Board Chair Mary Cronin.

 San José Clinic’s hosts its 80th Annual Patient Christmas Party

December 11, 2018 – Community partners and volunteers spread joy to more than 270 children and their families at San José Clinic’s 80th Annual Patient Christmas party on Saturday, December 8th. This special Christmas celebration is the highlight of the holidays for many of our patient’s children, complete with gifts and a visit with Santa.

At the Christmas party, party-goers had their photos taken with Santa, their faces painted, and were entertained by balloon artists and a whimsical visit from Olaf and Anna. Each child received an age and gender appropriate gift from Santa’s workshop, each senior went home with a special gift basket, and parents received a gift card to prepare a healthy holiday meal.

“We love spreading joy and brightening the lives of our patients and their families by providing gifts for those in need, from infants to seniors.” said Maureen Sanders, president and CEO of San José Clinic. “We are so grateful for the generous support of the Charity Guild of Catholic Women and Pierpont Communications, along with many other generous community partners, who host toy drives and volunteer their time to make this event a success every year.”

Donations and volunteers for the party were provided by the Charity Guild of Catholic Women, Pierpont Communications, McKinsey & Company, Cammarata Pediatric Dentistry, Daughters of Italian Heritage, the Hispanic Student Dental Association, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church Woodshop, CHI - St. Luke’s Health, the Saint Anne’s Catholic Church Young Adult Group, and the community.

This Christmas party is a wonderful example of the comprehensive care found at San José Clinic, which focuses on the larger lives of their patients and brings joy to their families. 

San José Clinic Hosts Eighth Annual Fall Speaker Series Luncheon - Texas Medical Center News

October 23, 2018 - The San José Clinic welcomed donors, thought leaders and health care providers to its annual Fall Speaker Series Luncheon on Oct. 23, 2018 to discuss the growing need to address and eliminate cultural barriers in access to health care.

This year, Stephen J. Spann, M.D., MBA, founding dean of the University of Houston College of Medicine, and David S. Buck, M.D., MPH, the forthcoming college’s associate dean of community health, served as luncheon speakers. A discussion with them was moderated by Telemundo Houston morning news anchor Antonio Hernandez.

“I don’t think anyone ever becomes culturally competent,” Spann said as he addressed the crowd assembled at the River Oaks Country Club. “I think we are on a life journey of cultural humility and I prefer to think about multicultural fluency and understanding people from other cultures and understanding how that affects their health beliefs.”

As the fourth largest city in the country and the second-most diverse, addressing cultural barriers is a top priority for health care providers in Houston.

“The greatest challenge is access to care,” Spann explained. “We in Texas have the largest percent of our population that is medically uninsured … so just getting the treatment is a major challenge for these patients.”

The UH College of Medicine, which is expected to open in 2020, will train medical students to become primary care physicians who focus on providing care to the underserved, much like the San José Clinic.

“The San José Clinic was founded to break down the barriers of health care for the underserved and I think that is within our mission statement as well,” Buck said. “These issues of access and equity are vital to what we are doing and trying to do … integrating not just medical care, not just nursing care, pharmacy expertise and social work, but really integrating all of these social determinants into the practice of health—not just practice of medicine.”

Longtime Houston nonprofit San José Clinic names new president and CEO - Houston Business Journal

September 25, 2018 - San José Clinic, a 96-year-old safety net clinic in Houston, has selected a permanent president and CEO.

Maureen Sanders was named to the role, succeeding Paule Anne Lewis, who stepped down this summer to become the associate vice president of business operations at the University of Houston’s new medical school.

Sanders most recently was serving as the clinic’s interim administrator, while Heidi Bunyan had been interim president and CEO, according to the clinic's website. Sanders has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit management, resource development and finance, according to a press release. Before joining the clinic, she was COO for the Jackie Lyles Group, an innovation consulting practice, and served as the executive director at Mission of Yahweh and director of development at Houston Community College Foundation.

In her new role, Sanders will lead the organization in providing medical, dental and other health care services to those with limited access, per the release. In addition to being a member of the Texas Medical Center, the San José Clinic is a ministry of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and a United Way agency.

“San José Clinic serves an invaluable role in providing health care services to families and those underserved who are oftentimes in the margins in today’s society," His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, STL, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston Archdiocese, said in the release. “Under Maureen’s compassionate and bold leadership, San José Clinic will continue to embody the values of the church that are the foundational pillars of which the clinic’s legacy was built.”

San José Clinic Hosted its Annual Back to School Party for 200 Underserved Children

August 16, 2018 - On August 10, 2018, San José Clinic collaborated with many community partners to ensure nearly 200 underserved children can begin the 2018-19 academic year with the school supplies necessary for success that they may otherwise have gone without. San José Clinic hosted its annual Back to School Party, to alleviate some of the stress and burden of preparing for the school year for their patients’ families who are already working hard to get by without health insurance.

The Back to School party is entirely funded and supported by community partners including the Charity Guild of Catholic Women, Fiesta Mart, Pepsi/Frito-Lay, the Rotary Club of Houston Heights, the Greater Houston Dental Society, Undies for Everyone, Sox in the City, and Cammarata Dental.

The Charity Guild of Catholic Women donated over 200 new mesh backpacks, bundles of children’s books, baked cookies, and volunteered their time to ensure that the children had a fun and enriching afternoon at the party.  They have made it their mission to support the San Jose Clinic in particular and children’s charities in the Houston area in general. Volunteers from Fiesta Mart, Pepsi and Frito-Lay donated school supplies and a gift card for school uniforms to each child attending the event. New socks and underwear for all the children were generously donated by Sox in the City and Undies for Everyone. The children and families also received oral health education, toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss and mouthwash from Cammarata Dental and volunteers from the Greater Houston Dental Society.

This party is one of the many patient-focused events held throughout the year at San José Clinic. These events allow the Clinic to focus on the larger lives of their patients and bring joy to their families.

Dozens of volunteers from the Charity Guild of Catholic Women, Fiesta, Pepsi/Frito-Lay, the Greater Houston Dental Society,
and the Rotary Club of Houston Heights gave generously of their time at San José Clinic’s Back to School party.

Charity Guild of Catholic Women volunteers filled the children’s new backpacks with bundles of books at San José Clinic’s Back to School party.

Children pose with Fiesta Mart’s Pepe the Parrot at San José Clinic’s Back to School party,/em>




Medical Services for Low-Income People | Servicios médicos para personas de bajos recursos - Telemundo Houston, May 4, 2018

El 5 de mayo es una de las celebraciones más populares en los estados unidos y además de fiestas, margaritas y desfiles hay otras formas de conmemorar la batalla de puebla. Aquí en Houston habrá un festejo para ayudar a que los menos favorecidos tengan servicio médico.

More than 95 years of volunteerism helps keep Houston healthy at San José Clinic- Texas Catholic Herald

March 27, 2018 - It all began in 1922 with the vision of Monsignor George T. Walsh, a $50 donation from the Charity Guild of Catholic Women and the service of volunteers from the community. Fueled by a hope of breaking down barriers to healthcare for the underserved and caring for Houston’s growing population, San José Clinic was born.

For the last 95 years, volunteers have been working alongside clinic staff to drive the continued growth and success of the charity care clinic. The value of the total volunteer support provided to the clinic last year was more than $1 million – an enormous blessing for the charity, which receives no governmental funding of any kind.

San José Clinic’s legacy of volunteerism continues today. During 2017, the clinic’s 95th year of service, they welcomed more than 950 volunteers. These volunteers come from a wide variety of groups, careers and backgrounds to provide both direct patient care and indirect patient support at the Clinic.

“San José Clinic truly relies on our dedicated volunteers to ensure that we can continue to provide quality comprehensive care to the uninsured and uninsurable in our community throughout the year,” said Paule Anne Lewis, San José Clinic president and CEO. “Their service was especially impactful during Hurricane Harvey recovery, when more than 200 volunteers delivered care and assisted patients through the Clinic.”

Lewis said the clinic was blessed “welcome so many community-minded volunteers every year as we work towards our 100th year serving Houston, including our 2017 Volunteer of the Year, Dr. Michael Zionts. After a fruitful career of more than two decades in the Texas Medical Center, Dr. Zionts began volunteering at the Clinic. In just four years of volunteer work, Dr. Zionts provided nearly 1,000 hours of service to our patients.”

This April, San José Clinic is set to thank their dedicated supporters during Volunteer Appreciation Month. During April, 98 volunteers are set to receive the President’s Award for volunteering more than 100 hours in the past year. The honorees include students, healthcare providers, retired professionals and community members from throughout southeast Texas.

The value of all the clinic’s volunteers’ donations of time and talent are far more than monetary for San José Clinic – the impact is truly priceless, and the clinic is always looking to add new members to their team of volunteers.

San José Clinic President and CEO named national Thought Leader by New England Journal of Medicine - Catalyst- Texas Catholic Herald

March 13, 2018 - Paule Anne Lewis, president and CEO of San José Clinic, has been named a Care Redesign Thought Leader by the distinguished New England Journal of Medicine – Catalyst. Ms. Lewis is one of only three Texan Thought Leaders, the only Houstonian, and one of just four representatives of a Catholic health environment. Thought Leaders are appointed to serve as national, dynamic, engaging experts who will ‘share their knowledge on innovations in health care delivery and how to spark change in organizations of all sizes.’

“It is an honor to join this prestigious group of health care executives and leaders,” shared Ms. Lewis. “I am pleased that NEJM-Catalyst recognized the need to include the perspective of the only safety-net clinic in the world’s largest medical center to this national discussion.”

Ms. Lewis has been appointed a Thought Leader as she begins her eighth year of leadership at San José Clinic, Houston’s oldest and premier safety-net clinic. This accolade follows her recent participation in NEJM-Catalyst’s “Expanding the Bounds of Care Delivery: Integrating Mental, Social, and Physical Health” symposium, moderating a panel investigating health system solutions.

Ms. Lewis is a native Houstonian with twenty-five years of healthcare administration experience in the local market. As president and CEO of San José Clinic, she has driven the addition of the Clinic as a Texas Medical Center Member institution, the Clinic’s first national publication in the NEJM-Catalyst, and the successful implementation of a nationally-recognized quality assurance program.

“I am pleased for this opportunity to represent the vulnerable populations served by San José Clinic and other safety-net clinics throughout the country, as well as the chance to share our faith community’s generosity and innovation,” elaborated Ms. Lewis. “Since 1922, the Clinic has empowered patients and their families to take ownership of their health and live healthier lives. It is important to spread the word that San José Clinic remains committed to providing the highest quality of care in a patient-centered environment.”

In-Depth: Houston ‘Safety Net’ Clinic Relieved After Congress Funds CHIP - NPR News 88.7

January 24, 2018 - For over three months, Congress let the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, go unfunded. Then, the bill that allowed the government to reopen after a temporary shutdown also provided money to CHIP. Hadn’t that happened, nearly 400,000 children and pregnant women in Texas could have lost health coverage; 9 million nationwide.

CHIP is a federal program meant to be a safety net for some of the most vulnerable people: those who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid and yet don’t have access to other insurance. Houston’s San José Clinic gets those who don’t qualify. It bills itself as one of  the city’s  first “safety net clinics,” providing affordable healthcare for the uninsured and uninsurable.

Dr. Diana Grair is with the clinic. She says she’s grateful to be able to help her patients but, she warns,  the clinic can only do so much.

“It’s still frustrating: when you have a patient that needs surgery, for example. I mean, I cannot help those patients,” says Grair. “And for CHIP, I mean, that’s even more important. Because I feel like those children that are here have no way of getting insurance, are sick or, even worse, have some sort of developmental issue. And we are not able to help with that.”

In 2016, 48 pct of San José Clinic’s patients lived at or below the poverty line: making a little over $24,000 a year, for a family of four. Only about 6 percent of the clinic’s patients are children, but a lot of Grair’s patients have kids who are on CHIP.

“For these kinds of families, at least when it comes to their children, having that health care coverage and having that insurance, for them, that’s much more important than their own health,” said Grair. “And so we need that coverage, we need that kind of care.”

Teresa Vasquez, 45, is one Grair’s patients. She has five children: four are on CHIP.

“Our problem is that we live day-to-day on paycheck-to-paycheck,” Vasquez says in Spanish. “The money that we make is always accounted for by existing expenses. Doctor visits are an additional expense, and CHIP is very important to all, children and adults.”

Heidi Bunyan is San José Clinic’s Chief Operations Officer. She says had CHIP gone away, they would have had to react quickly.

But, Bunyan highlights, if programs like CHIP aren’t funded, it’s not just that the care goes away. “That, in fact, will not happen. It might even get exacerbated, because these kids aren’t being taken care of regularly. And, so, whatever diagnosis they have gets exacerbated because their parents are scared to take them anywhere. What happens at that point? I mean, it’s really a huge snowball effect,” she says.

Funding for San José Clinic isn’t unlimited. They’re not funded by the government. They don’t take insurance, so that usual reimbursement doesn’t exist. Patients are asked to make a contribution toward the costs for their care, based on their annual income. But, Bunyan says their operations are fully funded by donations and grants. And that’s difficult, since the state of Texas has the highest uninsured population in the country.

According to First Focus, an advocacy group in Washington, D.C., since CHIP was enacted in 1997 the uninsured rate for kids nationwide dropped by nearly 68 percent.

CHIP now insures 9 million children and pregnant women… at least until 2023.


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