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November 3, 2005

St. Luke’s Episcopal Health Charities Announces Health Leadership Award

HOUSTON (November 3, 2005) — Daniel Montez, CEO, Houston Community Health Center (HCHC), is being honored as recipient of the First Annual Community Health Leadership Award 2005 by St. Luke’s Episcopal Health Charities. Mr. Montez spearheaded the transformation of a boarded-up cantina into a primary health care clinic in the Denver Harbor area, helping to revitalize a neighborhood and bringing much-needed health services to a previously underserved community.

The Denver Harbor Clinic serves the working poor of Houston’s near-downtown Denver Harbor/Port of Houston neighborhoods. Residents are predominantly Hispanic and a third of households fall below federal poverty income guidelines. In 2001, the clinic began operating one day a week in a local church, in part with support from St. Luke’s Episcopal Health Charities.

Within a year, it was open two days a week and Mr. Montez, an experienced accountant and former assistant director of grants and contracts at The University of Texas Health Science Center, had begun working half-time for HCHC. As a result of a major grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation matched by other funders, by October 2003 the clinic was operating 40 hours a week and preparing to remodel the former cantina nearby. Mr. Montez realized that it would cost no more to raze the old building than to remodel it, and believed that the juxtaposition of the renovated building with its former use would be dramatic and inspirational.

Daniel Montez
CEO, Houston Community Health Center

Mr. Montez was instrumental in developing a comprehensive business plan for the Denver Harbor Clinic, listening to and gaining widespread support from the community, sharing his vision and raising funds, recruiting a staff, and overseeing renovation/construction of the new clinic.

In its first year of full-time operation, the clinic accepted nearly 3,000 medical visits, and that number rose to 4,500 in 2005. Now staffed by a nurse practitioner and by physicians and residents, it employs 15 people full time. Its goal is to become self-sustained by Medicaid reimbursements by 2008, and it is well on its way to being designated a Federally Qualified Health Center by 2007.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Health Charities was founded in 1997 as a separate component of St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System in Houston, Texas. It is now the largest charitable organization in Houston devoted to raising community health. The Leadership Award was established in 2005 to recognize one of Houston’s unsung non-profit community health leaders who has contributed significantly to “Advancing Community Health: Body, Mind and Spirit.”

“There are so many unsung heroes working in our community, said Patricia Gail Bray, PhD, Executive Director, St. Luke's Episcopal Health Charities. “We feel grateful to partner with them, and so think it is fitting that we have an annual Community Health Leadership Award honoring those individuals who transform communities. We are delighted to recognize this extraordinary Community Health Leader, Daniel Montez”.

At an awards dinner on November 16, a gift of $50,000 will be presented to the Houston private non-profit agency of Mr. Montez’s choice.

“I am honored to be able to designate this gift toward expanding clinic capacity by adding a full-time medical director and six family medicine residents,” said Mr. Montez. “Our current $2 million capital campaign will allow us to nearly double our clinic space—to 9,000 square feet—by the end of 2006.”


St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System comprises the flagship St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in the Texas Medical Center, founded in 1954 by the Episcopal Diocese of Texas; St. Luke’s Community Medical Center-The Woodlands, opened in 2003; St. Luke’s Episcopal Health Charities, the largest charity in Houston devoted to health; and Kelsey-Seybold Management, LLP, overseeing 21 area clinic locations. St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital is home to the Texas Heart Institute, founded in 1962 by Denton A. Cooley, MD., and consistently ranked among the top 10 cardiology and heart surgery centers in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. St. Luke’s was the first hospital in Texas named a Magnet hospital for nursing excellence and the Health System has been recognized by Fortune as among “100 Best Companies to Work For” (2002, 2004, 2005) and by the Houston Business Journal as the top healthcare employer in Houston for three consecutive years.

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