Sí Texas Project celebrates three-year mark on commitment to improving health

By Stephanie McClain, Project Impact Manager

We are pleased to celebrate Methodist Healthcare Ministries' three-year mark on the commitment to improve health through our Sí Texas: Social Innovation for a Healthy South Texas project – a Social Innovation Fund program which stimulates local solutions that improve both physical and behavioral health together, such as diabetes and depression.

Sí Texas focuses on integrated behavioral health (IBH) models that are effectively improving health outcomes in communities with high rates of poverty, depression, diabetes, obesity and associated risk factors. The project targets 12 South Texas counties: Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Willacy, Kenedy, Brooks, Jim Hogg, Zapata, Duval, Jim Wells, Kleberg and Webb, and is the result of an investment from the Social Innovation Fund of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

The power of a name
Being that this was Methodist Healthcare Ministries' first federal grant, we wanted a unique name that resonated with our audiences. Although the grant technically didn't begin until Sep. 2014, we celebrate March 25, 2014 as the day we named our project.

Three years ago, Methodist Healthcare Ministries staff was preparing to submit the grant application, and a cross-departmental committee convened to: make sure the grant proposal captured Methodist Healthcare Ministries' intentions, oversee the grant submission, and eventually oversee implementation. During one of those initial meetings, our communications manager presented the name: "Sí Texas: Social Innovation for a Healthy South Texas," and the vote was unanimous.

A name has power, and this name has endured. The name has been repeated all over the nation. Sí Texas is becoming a synonym for improved mental and physical health, culturally competent care, community-driven solutions, cross-sector engagement and innovative solutions.

The power of collaboration
The participants in our Sí Texas committee have changed somewhat, and the name of the committee has gone through some revisions, but we've been meeting most Tuesday mornings for three years now to keep Sí Texas moving along. This milestone is not one that the Sí Texas project team can celebrate in isolation. Many departments have made critical contributions to this enormous effort: our admin team, Wesley Nurses, community counselors, our IT department, HR department, accounting and finance team, communications, community grants, community engagement, policy and research, and many individuals within these and other areas.

The power of community
This initiative is only possible with the support of co-investment partners. Methodist Healthcare Ministries and the Social Innovation Fund are joined by the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation, Lamar Bruni Vergara Trust, Guadalupe & Lilia Martinez Foundation, Meadows Foundation, Hogg Foundation, Mercy Caritas, Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation, Superior Health Plan, and the Kenedy Foundation. These generous investments represent a stalwart commitment to improving the lives of those least served and a strong measure of trust in the organizations providing the services. Community-based organizations are at the center of the Sí Texas project and to the excellent care being provided to our community members. Our sub-grantees: Texas Tropical Behavioral Health, UT Health Houston School of Public Health, Texas A&M International University, REAL, Inc., Mercy Ministries of Laredo, Hope Family Health Center, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and Nuestra Clinica del Valle are not only giving excellent clinical care, but they are also increasing the entire region's ability to conduct rigorous evaluation and attract new and diverse resources.

The power of commitment
Our work at Methodist Healthcare Ministries is important. Our commitment to the health of our communities is not to do what's easy or clear. Our commitment is to do the difficult, the complex, the exploratory and the critically important work of improvement and support for positive, innovative change.

To all staff, thank you for the courage and commitment you've given the Sí Texas Project in its first three years. I can't wait to see what comes next!