Methodist Healthcare Ministries wins recognition from the Texas Broadband Development Office

dfwnewsa | January 9, 2024 | 0 | Technology , Technology News

Methodist Healthcare Ministries wins recognition from the Texas Broadband Development Office

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas (MHM) has been recognized by the State of Texas for its sterling work on bridging the digital divide.

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MHM is a private, faith-based, not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating access to health care for uninsured and low-income families through direct services, community partnerships and strategic grant-making in 74 counties across South Texas.

The work MHM is doing to boost broadband infrastructure investment has been referenced in the draft version of the Texas Digital Opportunity Plan. This plan has been crafted by the Texas Broadband Development Office, which is housed in the Office of the Comptroller of Public Accounts.

The draft Texas Digital Opportunity Plan states:

“One notable organization that is investing in broadband and digital opportunity expansion in South Texas is Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. (MHM). As essential services move increasingly online – including healthcare, education and workforce development – MHM released a Request for Proposals (RFP) to advance digital equity in the region. The goal for proposals is to increase the capacity of CBOs and CAIs in South Texas to provide critical digital resources, services and support through device access, digital skills and public benefit adoption including deploying digital connectors in the region. As a result, MHM hopes to achieve its goal of increasing broadband adoption for residents and families living in South Texas.”

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CBO stands for Community Based Organization. CAI stands for Community Anchor Institution.

MHM announced in December that it is investing more than $21 million over three years in 20 organizations in an effort to advance digital equity and strengthen communities across Texas. 

MHM said the funding will help increase the capacity of community-based organizations and community anchor institutions throughout the region to provide critical digital resources. 

Jaime Wesolowski, president & CEO of Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, said that while his organization has invested in digital equity before, this new investment represents a significant step forward for the organization as it continues a strategic shift towards advancing health equity. 

Wesolowski said MHM is working to ensure all people in its service region have access to reliable, affordable broadband service and the skills and opportunities to use this technology safely and effectively to support their economic, health and social needs.

“At Methodist Healthcare Ministries, we are broadening the definition of health care through invaluable partnerships with vital community-focused agencies across Texas,” Wesolowski said. “We believe that by investing in advancing digital equity, we are not just helping communities to bridge the digital divide, but are also empowering them to access opportunities, connect with vital resources, and take charge of their well-being. Our commitment to funding digital equity, evidenced by this investment across Texas, is a testament to our belief that everyone deserves the tools and skills to thrive in the digital age.”

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Wesolowski said the groups receiving the funds meet one of three key funding opportunities identified by MHM as being critical to improving digital equity. The three opportunities are: Device Access, Digital Skills, and Public Benefit Adoption. 

  • Device Access includes activities as varied as refurbishing devices to developing community spaces that can be used as computer centers/hubs. 
  • The Digital Skills funding opportunity looks at hiring and overseeing a Digital Connector Cohort and incorporating them into existing community spaces and programs.  Digital Connectors are community technology ambassadors who apply a lens of health and well-being to bringing needed digital services to communities. 
  • Public Benefit Adoption will promote subsidy outreach from ACP (Affordable Connectivity Program), SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and Medicaid, just to name a few.

The 20 organizations receiving funding are found mostly within four regions being targeted by MHM for this effort, including the Lower Rio Grande Valley, the Mid-Border Region, San Antonio, and Austin. These areas have been identified as having significant digital equity needs and are crucial for MHM’s efforts to bridge the digital divide.

Below is a list of the organizations being funded:

Courtesy: Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas

Since inception, Methodist Healthcare Ministries has provided more than $1.5 billion in health care services through its clinical programs, and partnerships, and is the largest private funding sources for community health care to low-income families and the uninsured in South Texas.  

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City of Pharr


Meanwhile, MHM has produced a video to show the “incredible work” the City of Pharr is doing to bridge the digital divide.

“The City of Pharr is doing incredible work to close the digital divide in their community and we are proud to highlight their work. As one of our funded partners advancing digital equity, they are helping families access affordable, high-speed internet so they can thrive in today’s digital economy,” MHM said, in a posting on social media.

“In 2023, MHM provided the City with $1 million to support their TeamPharr.net infrastructure and staffing needs and they have already connected 3,000 homes to the internet.”

Here, below, is the video MHM produced to highlight how the City of Pharr is having a “big impact on the lives of students and families by closing the digital divide.”


The post Methodist Healthcare Ministries wins recognition from the Texas Broadband Development Office appeared first on Rio Grande Guardian.

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