OXY Scholars Program

Houston Methodist receives $4 million donation from Occidental Petroleum to enhance patient care for the uninsured and underserved

Houston Methodist’s commitment to provide specialty medical care to uninsured and underserved patients received a boost with a $4 million gift from Occidental Petroleum Corporation.

Occidental’s gift allows the Houston Methodist Scholars program to expand and offer additional specialty care to communities throughout the greater Houston area. The contribution will be used establish an Occidental Petroleum/Houston Methodist Scholar award to recognize an outstanding fellow or resident annually or biannually, and provide means for additional medical education, necessary equipment to improve patient care and research-related endeavors. The program began in 2013 to provide this care for patients in Federally Qualified Health Centers across Houston.

“We are very appreciative of Occidental’s generous support of Houston Methodist and our Scholars program,” said Cathy Easter, Senior Vice President, Houston Methodist Community Development. “Their generosity will greatly bolster a program that provides high-quality health care for uninsured and underserved residents in greater Houston.”

Since the program began, three veteran physicians and their team of residents and fellows in neurology, nephrology and endocrinology have treated approximately 400 patients at local clinics. The gift will allow Houston Methodist to provide additional physician resources to clinics and grow the program to add ophthalmology, gastroenterology and hematology/oncology care.

“We’ve had overwhelming success at San Jose Clinic and the Legacy Community Health Services, where Houston Methodist residents and fellows rotate,” said Dr. Timothy Boone, co-director, Institute for Academic Medicine at Houston Methodist Hospital. “These physicians gain community experience, and patients receive specialty care that they might not otherwise be able to afford.”

“Expansion of the Houston Methodist Scholars program and community service to the underserved contributes significantly to Houston Methodist’s mission of patient care, medical education and translational research,” Boone said.

In addition to patient care, fellows and residents will have opportunities to study diseases in their early stages. The data provided by this patient population may also help support additional research studies to find solutions and treatments for common, but often complex and deadly diseases such as diabetes and kidney disease.

Houston Methodist physicians and residents treat hundreds of patients at the Vecino Health Centers, including a weekly breast-health clinic, which serves the predominantly Hispanic, low-income residents of the east side Houston neighborhood.

Houston Methodist’s community benefits program has provided operational support for clinical and mental health staff, in-kind lab and other specialty care services to more than two dozen Houston area agencies. Last year, Houston Methodist provided more than $190 million in charity care and community clinic funding.