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April 2015
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    By Rev. Mickey McCandless, Director of Church Connections & Spiritual Care The Rio Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church was created January 1, 2015 through the unification of the Rio Grande Annual Conference and the Southwest Texas Annual Conference. The newly formed Rio Texas Conference now encompasses 74 counties of South Texas and marks the geographic area served by Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. (MHM). A church conference is the primary organizational unit of The United Methodist Church and has been the basic structure of the Methodist Episcopal Church since beginning in North America in 1784. A conference is equivalent to a diocese in the Roman Catholic and Episcopal Churches or presbytery in the Presbyterian Church. The Rio Texas Conference is one of 57 conferences in the U.S. and 79 additional in Africa, Europe and the Philippines and administratively guided by Bishop James Dorff. The unification of the two conferences developed from two...

  • 27

    By Andy Hernandez, Community Development Manager Health starts in our homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, schools and churches. Health happens where we live, work, play and pray. It happens in the material and social conditions in which we live. These elements combined shape—for better or worse—our well-being and health outcomes. Social Determinants of Health How much money do we make? Do we have health insurance or not? What is our level of education? Do we live in a low-income or high-income neighborhood? How safe is our home and workplace? The answers to these questions help explain the health of a community by determining connectedness. These factors determine what opportunities we have to be healthy. This is generally referred to as the, "social determinants of health." They account for over 40 percent of all health outcomes, twice as much as access to medical care (20 percent). Social, environmental and economic factors contribute more heavily to the health and well-being of...

  • 06

    By Dominica Garza, Communications Manager Language is something many of us take for granted – the ability to communicate with others, to read, to write. Communication helps us to create shared meaning between two or more parties. But, what happens when there are barriers to communication like the inability to read or to understand the native language of the country in which you reside, or much worse, what if you cannot speak the language? A PBS special titled, "Do you speak American? Texas English," asserts that English is, historically, the second language of the state. Even setting aside the languages of Native Americans in the area, Spanish was spoken in Texas for nearly a century before English was. According to the Modern Language Association's Language Map Data Center, more than 90 languages are spoken in Texas. Of that, English is spoken by 65.80 percent of people over five years old in Texas, while languages other than English are spoken by 34.20 percent. This diversity...

March 2015
  • 30

    by George Thomas, Chief Operating Officer The Wesley Theological Seminary, a teaching seminary and service-oriented community located in Washington, DC, has identified a variety of health ministry models to include: Congregational Health & Wellness Ministry – Health ministry seeks to find common ground among other congregational ministries, such as social justice, religious education, volunteer visitors, hospitality and youth ministries. Health Ministers – Health ministers are healthcare professionals, barbers, stay-at-home parents and lawyers to accountants. They can take be health navigators, wellness coaches, outreach workers, health educators, and health ambassadors, promoters de salud and health promoters. Faith Community Nursing – The American Nurses Association, working with the Health Ministries Association, approved a new registered nurse certification program for Faith Community Nurses. Faith Community Nursing, formerly known as parish nursing, is a process...

  • 23

    By George Thomas, Chief Operating Officer The American Medical Association describes clinical integration as: "The means to facilitate the coordination of patient care across conditions, providers, settings, and time in order to achieve care that is safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable, and patient-focused." Similarly, one of the principle mandates of the Affordable Care Act is to encourage or promote methodologies for reducing costs, increasing efficiency and enhancing the quality of care." My interpretation of clinical integration and this mandate is that healthcare providers need to find innovative ways to provide a higher quality of care. Far too often, the news is blanketed with stories of malpractice, mismanagement, or – far worse – news of tragedy that could have been prevented. While Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc.'s clinics (Wesley Health & Wellness Center; Bishop Ernest T. Dixon, Jr. Clinic; and School Based Health Centers in Schertz...

  • 19

    By Kathy Crosby, RN, Wesley Nurse I have been a Wesley Nurse since 2013. Early on, I learned a main function of the Wesley Nurse profession is assessing the needs of the community in which I serve. Although I work for Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. (MHM), headquartered in San Antonio, my actual work site is at First United Methodist Church in Bastrop. Bastrop is located about 30 miles southeast of Austin and is situated in the Capital District of the Rio Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church – the Rio Texas Conference defines MHM's service area. During my time in Bastrop, I witnessed the need for a respite program in Bastrop. The caregiver and elderly community was large in heart and might, but severely lacking in support and resources. I worked with the Alzheimer's Association and Bastrop First United Methodist Church to form a partnership to address the need. Brenda Zimmerman, who later became the volunteer director for the soon-to-be group,...

  • 10

    By Terri H., Intake Coordinator I joined Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas Inc. (MHM) in March 2004, however I was first introduced to MHM in 1997 when I was a Wesley Primary Care Clinic employee. Through the years I have seen tremendous change and growth in MHM and all for the best. Each day I hear our patients' needs and their stories of survival. I listen closely and let them know that we care and we are here to help. I find satisfaction at the end of the day knowing that I was able to help that patient through my compassion and listening. Some patients let me know that I have helped them feel better by thanking me through their blessings and hugs. To hear this makes me feel proud to be part of the MHM family. Since 2008, I have had to deal with a serious illness – something I pray no one close to me ever has to deal with. MHM is so blessed to have such wonderful team members that care and are compassionate, not only with patients, but with coworkers. In 2012,...

February 2015
  • 17

    by Bridget Lamme-Kerr, Director of Human Resources We take pride in our commitment to the health of the community. At Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. (MHM), healthy living is also supported internally. Not only do we talk the talk, but we also walk the walk. Our team members benefit from a diverse wellness package designed to support the whole individual—mind, body and spirit. From the 100 percent employer-paid insurance plan to the annual health screenings our dedication to the team's overall health is unmatched. Our internal wellness program, MHM Be Well, offers a health reimbursement for certain health related expenses up to $250 per year along with ongoing fitness challenges that encourage teamwork and physical activity. Team members also participate in a variety of MHM community-sponsored events, such as walks and runs. It becomes a benefit for everyone involved because team members get active while also giving back to the communities where we serve. ...

  • 12

    Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. (MHM) is a proud host of the Spurs Youth Basketball League held at the Wesley Health & Wellness Center (WHWC). The goals of the league are: to encourage youth to remain in school; act with integrity; say no to drugs; make positive choices; and respect one another. The youth learn these valuable skills, while also having fun. On, Jan. 25, over 25 youth from the league were chosen to attend the Spurs vs. Milwaukee Bucks game at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. These young fans were selected because of their good sportsmanship and excellent character. The group met at WHWC where they enjoyed pizza before boarding a chartered bus to the game. The group was even treated to a front row seat to view a post-game interview between San Antonio Spurs' Kawai Leonard and Sean Elliot. The youth learned what Kawai likes to do during his free time and several fans received Sean's autograph. The excitement carried over...

January 2015
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    By Sharlene Scheler, Wesley Nurse, Smithville Food insecurity threatens millions of Americans. During any typical week, the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas serves more than 48,000 people. Further, 1 in 5 families suffer physical pain from hunger. Smithville, Texas is no different. The community falls within the 26 percent poverty rate. The need is great, but thankfully, the giving hearts of others are great too. The Smithville Food Pantry services Bastrop Country and the Smithville area. The site distributes food and other necessities on Wednesday mornings each week to an average of 80 families. During this time, I see pantry clients for blood pressure and sugar checks. In addition, I answer other questions and provide healthcare referrals. My partnership with the food pantry made perfect sense. The clients are already making the trip so if I'm there too; it makes meeting with me a convenient stop. I found that partnering with local organizations, such as the food pantry, is...

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