Wendy Abel

Texas Methodist Foundation wants to support the University of Houston College of Nursing.

brown concrete dome building under white clouds during daytime

Wendy Abel, vice president of grants ministry for the Texas Methodist Foundation, believes that providing proper medical care is about more than prescribing medicine; it’s about identifying and addressing the root causes of health problems. A root cause she feels passionate about treating is poverty, explaining that the symptoms of financial hardship can be responsible for a patient’s ailments.

“It’s housing, it’s employment, it’s education, it’s mental health,” Abel said. “When you have a deficit in one of those, life is difficult, but when you have a deficit in multiple, it becomes increasingly difficult to survive.”

Access to preventative care can have a profound impact on a patient's long-term health and is the main reason why the Texas Methodist Foundation wants to support the University of Houston College of Nursing. The College of Nursing addresses the complicated link between poverty and health with its Midtown clinic, which provides accessible health care to an under-resourced population. The foundation's $30,000 grant will allow the clinic to open an additional day each week, ensuring that the staff can serve more patients who don't have access to routine medical care.

Servanthood is one of Texas Methodist Foundation's core values. Abel sees the nurses and nursing students working at the clinic as a shining example of this value.

“Being a servant to those who are just struggling, just regular life struggles,” Abel said.

Another of the foundation's core values is competency, and the educational experience UH nursing students receive while working at this clinic embodies this.

“They can have that hands-on experience,” Abel explained. “It's more than just a textbook.”

Throughout its long history of supporting communities and programs that help people move out of poverty, the foundation has preferred to work with organizations that will partner with them.

“We want to walk with people in their journey,” Abel said.

Similar to how doctors can work with patients over time to prioritize their health, Abel hopes that Texas Methodist Foundation and the nursing school can continue to collaborate on initiatives to alleviate medical care inaccessibility in marginalized populations.

She encourages others to donate to a cause they're passionate about, pushing them to focus not on dollar amount, but instead on impact.

“Are they impactful dollars? Organizations like the University of Houston nursing school and the clinic provide impact,” she explained. “Large amount, small amount — any amount that helps people through servanthood helps. And so, any amount will do.”