Congratulations to Dr. Phillip Brown, DDS

Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc.’s Senior Vice President of Dental Services, Dr. Philip Brown, has been inducted as a Fellow of the International College of Dentists (ICD). Dr. Brown was honored for his extraordinary service and leadership at the ICD’s 85thAnnual Convocation, held in San Francisco, California, Sept. 6.

Dr. Brown was presented with a membership plaque, a gold lapel pin and gold key symbolic of the fellowship for conspicuous service rendered in the art and science of dentistry, during the convocation.

“I was nominated by a colleague to join the organization. I sent in my application and it was approved by the board and then I was inducted into the group,” said Dr. Brown. “It is an honor to receive this recognition and it is humbling. It was overwhelming and I felt like I was graduating from college, again. It is a big honor for me.”

Dr. Brown was among 350 other dentists from around the world to be inducted into the College this year. The College, with representative chapters in more than 123 countries, has over 11,000 members — including 6,500 in the United States.

The ICD members often participate in mission trips to various countries around the globe to provide critical dental care to the underserved.

“I felt like I really fit in to this organization because that’s what Methodist Healthcare Ministries does — we serve the underserved in our communities. It’s our mission field,” said Brown. “We are doing what medical teams on mission trips do — all day and every day,” he said.

His passion for “treating people, not teeth,” which is his mantra, is the driving force behind his commitment to providing the highest quality of care to the least served in our communities. Dr. Brown’s dedicated work and expertise is the epitome of Methodist Healthcare Ministries’ mission, “Serving Humanity to Honor God.”

He said Methodist Healthcare Ministries is at the forefront of integrated healthcare which provides care to the whole person by utilizing a high degree of collaboration and communication across the organization. The goal is to make connections to systemic ailments including coronary artery disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s, depression, and others, so that a patients’ health needs are better identified and addressed.

“We practice integrated healthcare at Methodist Healthcare Ministries because we invest a lot of our attention to the whole person so that we can provide the best in healthcare to our patients,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons I felt connected to ICD. They too are passionate about bringing wellness to those in need.”

Dr. Brown plans on getting more involved with ICD and hopes to dedicate some of his time to volunteer work. One of his goals is to be part of a mission trip in the future. He said it’s a way for him to give back to others.

He and his brother are both dentists. His brother is in private practice. “We both enjoy working with our hands and we are both artistic,” he said.

When Dr. Brown isn’t leading his dental teams at Methodist Healthcare Ministries’ Dixon Health & Wellness Center, Wesley Health & Wellness Center and its two School-Based Health Centers, you can bet he’s somewhere taking photos of whatever captures his eye. His love for photography started in college.

“I take my camera everywhere I go. I like taking photos of my family, as well as places I’ve traveled to,” he said. “One of his most cherished photos is of his parents’ hands. “I was at church with my parents that day and I noticed their hands as they sat together so I decided to capture that image.”

The photo of his parents’ hands is displayed in his office, along with several other images including his travels and family. Aside from photography, he also enjoys scuba diving with his sons.

Dr. Brown and his wife, Elaine, have two sons — Jason, 34, an emergency room physician in Houston, Texas, and Kyle, 29, a firefighter with the San Antonio Fire Department. They also have two grandsons — Braxton and Joshua. His wife, Elaine, is a retired radiologist.

He’s served at Methodist Healthcare Ministries for 24 years. Dr. Brown said serving others and helping improve their lives is a great feeling. “It’s unexplainable. We are not just changing teeth; we are changing lives every day. And, ultimately, we are saving lives. To see a patient, look and feel better is an overwhelming feeling.”

The ICD is the pre-eminent honorary organization of the world’s outstanding dentists involved in “Serving Others.” It is dedicated to the recognition of outstanding professional achievement, meritorious service and the continued progress in the profession of dentistry for the benefit of all humankind.

Improving Access to Water is Critical for the Health of All Texans

Having access to clean, potable water, indoor plumbing and a wastewater system is something many Texans take for granted. However, thousands of Texans, mostly living along the Texas-Mexico border in colonias lack these basic amenities. The State of Texas defines a colonia as “a residential area along the Texas–Mexico border that may lack some of the most basic living necessities such as potable water, septic or sewer systems, electricity, paved roads or safe and sanitary housing.”

As President & CEO of Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc., I have heard the stories of Texans living along the border who are struggling with access to basic needs, and I’ve witnessed first-hand how the lack of potable water, septic or sewer systems, electricity, paved roads or safe and sanitary housing create barriers to health.

One example is the community of La Presa, a colonia in Webb County near Laredo. La Presa is a community of approximately 300, surrounds a lake at the center of town that is hidden by trees. Most families in this colonia do not have access to potable water and often have to drive to Laredo to pump water for their washing machines, sinks, toilets and tubs. The water isn't clean enough to drink so families must buy water bottles.

It's a tragic situation that many Texans are trying to solve. Webb County is moving forward with a first-ever water dispensary for their community, which is targeted to launch the summer of 2020. And, thanks to a partnership between Texas A&M University’s Colonias Program and the U.S. Department of Defense, the flood-prone road that families in La Presa depend on to get to school and work will be improved. It’s a great step forward, but there are hundreds more communities like La Presa that need help.

According to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas, there are nearly 500,000 Texans living in nearly 2,300 colonias. 61.4 percent live at or near the federal poverty rate. 73.1 percent are U.S. citizens. In just six Texas counties along the Texas-Mexico border, 38,000 colonia residents do not have access to clean drinking water.

It bears repeating. Thousands of our fellow Texans are living without the most basic living necessities. No problems of this complexity have silver bullets, but there is a tangible way to stand beside our fellow Texans in pursuit of a solution simply by exercising your right to vote.

At Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc., our mission calls us to “Serve Humanity to Honor God.” We fulfill our mission in a number of ways, including through the direct services we provide through our clinical operations and the grant funding we award to nonprofit organizations across South Texas – all sharing our commitment to helping increase access to care for the least served. However, we also seek to play a leading role in shaping the state’s policy agenda through our advocacy efforts.

During the Texas Legislature’s 86th Legislative Session, our organization, alongside other partners, supported the passage of Senate Bill 2452, which became known as Proposition 2 on the November ballot after being passed by both the Texas House & Senate.

Proposition 2 is a proposed amendment to the Texas Constitution that will allow the Texas Water Development Board to issue general obligation bonds for the Economically Distressed Areas Program (EDAP). EDAP is a program created by the Texas Legislature to assist disadvantaged communities with critical infrastructure projects. The amount of the bonds allowed by Proposition 2 cannot exceed $200 million and would be used to develop water supply and sewer projects in economically depressed areas, such as colonias, of the state.

This is a bill that passed with bipartisan support. However, to become law, it requires approval of the majority of Texas voters this November 5.

What can you do to help? Exercise your right to vote at the ballot box. By voting “Yes” to Proposition 2, you are ensuring that distressed communities across Texas have access to funds that will improve access to clean water.

Early voting started Monday, October 21 and runs through Friday, Nov. 1. Election Day is Tuesday, November 5.

In Texas, we take great pride in being there for one another. Be sure to lend a hand to your fellow Texans and vote “Yes” on proposition 2, so that all Texans can gain access to the clean, potable water we all need to live longer, healthier lives.

Jaime Wesolowski is President and CEO, Methodist Healthcare Ministries.

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Jaime Wesoloski

President & Chief Executive Officer

Jaime Wesolowski is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Methodist Healthcare Ministries. A healthcare executive with three decades of leadership experience, Jaime is responsible for the overall governance and direction of Methodist Healthcare Ministries. Jaime earned his Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from Xavier University, and his Bachelor’s of Science from Indiana University in Healthcare Administration. As a cancer survivor, Jaime is a staunch supporter of the American Cancer Society. He serves as Chair of the American Cancer Society’s South Texas Area board of directors and he was appointed as Chair to the recently created South Region Advisory Cabinet, covering eight states from Arizona through Alabama. Jaime believes his personal experience as a cancer survivor has given him more defined insight and compassion to the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of patients and their families.