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October 31, 2006

St. Luke’s Episcopal Health Charities Announces 2006 Health Leadership Award

HOUSTON – St. Luke’s Episcopal Health Charities is honoring Bob Randall, PhD, founder of Urban Harvest, as the recipient of the Second Annual Community Leadership Award 2006. Dr. Randall has dedicated the last two decades to improving the health of our community by spearheading an urban education effort about how gardens better health, lives and communities.Bob Randall, PhD

“The St. Luke’s Episcopal Health Charities has been working with the community to combat childhood obesity and Dr. Randall’s dedication to teaching children about nutrition through gardening is beneficial,” said Patricia Gail Bray, PhD, executive director, St. Luke’s Episcopal Health Charities. “Without any knowledge of growing fruits and vegetables, children begin thinking high-calorie processed food is their only and best food source. “When children grow their own vegetables, they learn about where food comes from, its nutritional content, and that it is delicious to eat. This knowledge advances their health for a lifetime.”   

The largest charitable organization in Houston devoted to raising community health, St. Luke’s Episcopal Health Charities was founded in 1997 as a separate component of St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System in Houston, Texas. The Leadership Award was established in 2005 to recognize one of Houston’s unsung non-profit community health leaders who contribute significantly to “Advancing Community Health: Body, Mind and Spirit.” At an awards dinner hosted by SLEHC on November 14, a gift of $50,000 will be presented to Dr. Randall for the Houston private non-profit agency of his choice.

“I am honored to be able to designate this $50,000 gift toward expanding the educational, community and school gardens program for Urban Harvest,” Dr. Randall said. “This gift comes at a critical time for me as I soon retire. However, my gardening and commitment to advancing Houston’s Urban Harvest will always continue.”      

In 1994, Dr. Randall founded Urban Harvest, a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening communities through shared gardens and orchards, while promoting sustainable land use and earth-friendly, efficient, horticulture practices. Urban Harvest works with more than 150 gardens in the Houston metropolitan area, including donation gardens that provide food to the needy, therapy gardens for the mentally and physically handicapped, school gardens and outdoor classrooms, and market farms and gardens. Urban Harvest offers year-round classes on how to create community gardens and outdoor classrooms, how to grow fruit and vegetables organically, and how to use land in a sustainable manner.

"I am so pleased to see Dr. Randall selected for this honor,” said Clark Moore, St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System Grant Evaluation Chairman. “His life's work embodies what we hope to recognize in community health leadership. More than merely growing vegetables and orchards, his work represents how we can come together to improve the health of a community in a systemic way though education and action. Such collective advances provide the opportunity for benefits to live on through generations.  If our goal is to endorse the work of those who promote health in body, mind and spirit, then surely this man exemplifies our mission in his endeavors.”

Dr. Randall compiled his garden research notes and wrote, “Year Round Vegetables, Fruits, and Flowers for Metro Houston – A Natural Organic Approach Using Ecology.” Perhaps the best selling gardening book in Houston, it is now in its 11th edition and is widely recognized as the “bible” for vegetable and fruit gardening in the Greater Houston Area.


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, a charity devoted to assessing and enhancing community health, especially among the underserved; 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 is consistently ranked among the top 10 cardiology and heart surgery centers in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Affiliated with several nursing schools and two medical schools, St. Luke’s serves as the primary adult teaching hospital for Baylor College of Medicine. 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” and by Houston Business Journal as a top employer in Houston.


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