Methodist Healthcare Ministries donates $500,000 to American Cancer Society HPV Initiative, “Mission: HPV Cancer Free Texas”

San Antonio, Texas, August 12, 2019– – Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. announced a second round of funding for the American Cancer Society’s campaign, “Mission: HPV Cancer Free Texas,” formally “Cancer Prevention: It's worth a shot.” Methodist Healthcare Ministries will donate $500,000 to the American Cancer Society (ACS) for a second comprehensive, two-year cancer prevention initiative focused on increasing human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations among medically underserved children in South Texas. Specifically, this gift will target communities served by local and regional Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) by improving systematic clinical practices and providing HPV vaccination education for parents and families.

"This campaign by the American Cancer Society to promote HPV prevention aligns perfectly with our vision which calls us to be a leader for improving the wellness of the least served," stated Jaime Wesolowski, President & CEO of Methodist Healthcare Ministries. “Through this effort, we can improve HPV vaccination rates and save lives, minimize the risk of future infection and protect thousands from a disease that is linked to 33,000 cancer diagnoses each year.”

As part of this effort, the American Cancer Society will partner with six Federally Qualified Health Centers (Amistad Community Health CenterAtascosa Health CenterCentroMedCommuniCareGateway Community Health Center, Inc.and Community Action Corporation of South Texas). Methodist Healthcare Ministries has a long-standing relationship with most of these FQHC partners. In 2017, Methodist Healthcare Ministries funded the first round of ACS’s “Cancer Prevention: It's worth a shot,” now named “Mission: HPV Cancer Free Texas,” with a $500,000 giftthat enabled ACS to partner with three FQHC partners in the initial phase of the campaign.

The HPV vaccine has been proven safe and effective in protecting children from six different types of cancer later in life, including cervical and throat cancers. Currently, the vaccination rate in Texas is woefully low as the state ranks 44thout of 50 states for HPV vaccine rates among children ages 13-17, with only 39 percent of kids receiving the vaccine. Approximately 3,070 Texans are diagnosed each year with a cancer caused by HPV. Although preventive care like vaccinations is covered by Medicaid and many private insurance plans, thousands of children, especially in clinics that serve those in greatest need, go without vaccinations that could protect them. 

“We are excited to continue this vital partnership with Methodist Healthcare Ministries to raise HPV vaccination rates in South Texas and help prevent 6 types of cancer,” said Lindsay Maggio McElwee, Executive Director for the American Cancer Society. “Together, we are building a movement and working towards the first generation free from HPV-related cancers. With this generous gift from Methodist Healthcare Ministries we could have the chance to make not just one, but multiple cancers history and save countless lives in our community.”

This second round of the campaign builds on the best practices and assessments from the initial phase. The American Cancer Society works with each FQHC to build a customized program that will include provider education, patient outreach, education, and follow-up, as well as other quality improvement efforts. Each FQHC partner will receive capacity building funding to support their comprehensive program. The project aims to identify and employ approaches to increase provider recommendation and vaccination coverage levels that will be sustained beyond this additional funding period.


About Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc.

Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. is a private, faith-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating access to health care for the uninsured through direct services, community partnerships and strategic grant-making in 74 counties across South Texas. Guided by its mission of "Serving Humanity to Honor God," Methodist Healthcare Ministries’ vision is to be the leader for improving wellness of the least served. The mission also includes Methodist Healthcare Ministries' one-half ownership of the Methodist Healthcare System, the largest healthcare system in South Texas, which creates a unique avenue to ensure that it continues to be a benefit to the community by providing quality care to all and charitable care when needed. For more information, visit

About American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of nearly 2 million volunteers dedicated to saving lives, celebrating lives, and leading the fight for a world without cancer. From breakthrough research, free lodging near treatment, a 24/7 live cancer helpline, to free rides for patients, and convening powerful activists to create awareness and impact, the American Cancer Society is the only organization attacking cancer from every angle. For more information about cancer and/or other ways you may become involved, call the American Cancer Society’s 24-hour helpline at (800) 227-2345 or