EDINBURG, RGV – Doctors Hospital at Renaissance Health System and the Renaissance Cares Foundation held a ceremony honoring Kevin C. Moriarty, founding president and CEO of Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, as he heads into retirement.
After 21 years of service, Moriarty will be leaving MHMST, a faith-based nonprofit dedicated to providing health care to uninsured and low-income families across 74 counties in South Texas.
Since its establishment in 1996, Moriarty has worked tirelessly to fulfill the organization’s mission of “serving humanity to honor God,” remaining on the forefront of various health initiatives and constantly seeking ways to serve more people. While at its helm, Moriarty supported efforts that would lead to the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP), was instrumental in developing the Texas Women’s Health Program (now Healthy Texas Women) and partnered with local Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to extend health care access to thousands in underserved communities. Most recently, MHMST partnered with Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute to get mental health policies passed, including David’s Law, which classifies cyberbullying as a misdemeanor.
In the Rio Grande Valley, Moriarty funded and formed strategic partnerships with several community-based nonprofits. He also helped them secure millions in grants, including $10 million in 2014 from the Social Innovation Fund to improve depression and diabetes rates in the region through the “Sí Texas” project. Most notably, he spearheaded efforts to create the Promotor(a)/Community Health Worker training and certification program, which has become essential in serving colonia residents.
“When I first came down to the Valley to try to find funded partners … I remember having the driving trip and meeting with everyone in the FQHCs, and they told me how they were funded … and I was like ‘how can you provide that and survive?’” said Moriarty.
Lisa Mitchell-Bennett, program director for UTHealth School of Public Health in Brownsville, said Moriarty “changed the world of South Texas,” and representatives from organizations across the Valley gathered to express their gratitude and wish Moriarty well in his future endeavors.
Rebecca Stocker, executive director of the Hope Family Health Center; Marisol Resendez, interim executive director of El Milagro Clinic; Jose Gonzalez, CEO of Behavioral Health Solutions; Lucy Ramirez Torres, CEO of Nuestra Clinica del Valle; Juanita Valdez-Cox, executive director of La Unión del Pueblo Entero (LUPE); Laura Treviño, regional director of Texas A&M Colonias Program in Weslaco; Sister Fatima Santiago, director of Proyecto Desarrollo Humano; Christina Perez, chief operating officer of Su Clinica Familiar; Sister Phylis Peters, director of Proyecto Juan Diego; and Vicki Saenz, executive director of Infant and Family Nutrition Program, all gave testimonials about Moriarty’s dedication to them and the people of the Rio Grande Valley.
“I’m proud to have worked and learned from Kevin,” said Stocker. “As a leader, he leads by example and truly does strive to follow John Wesley’s model of ‘do all the good you can by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.’ So, with that, I’d like to thank Kevin for your continued support, your enthusiasm towards our projects, and your faith in the care that we as partners strive to do so that we may be on a path to serve humanity to honor God.”
DHR Chief of Staff Dr. Robert Martinez and Edinburg Mayor Richard Garcia presented Moriarty with plaques commemorating his service.
“Through Methodist Healthcare Ministries and Mr. Moriarty’s leadership, local programs throughout the Rio Grande Valley have been able to expand their services to improve the communities which they serve,” said Garcia. “We’re pleased to honor your commitment to work with our local organizations and to recognize the positive impact that you had on the public health of our lower Rio Grande Valley communities. On behalf of the city of Edinburg, we honor your personal commitment to improving the lives of those low-income families and uninsured in the lower Rio Grande Valley over the past 21 years, commend your efforts to continue this critical support for the future, and thank you from the bottom of my heart and my city’s heart.”
Moriarty, himself, closed the ceremony. As he exits the organization he helped shape, he spoke about his retirement plans and reflected on his time with MHMST.
“It’s been a great journey for me,” said Moriaty. “I’ve looked at life from the perspective of community, from the perspective of lives and people that have great potential of which is not being realized and needs to be changed.”
Despite retiring, Moriarty will work on a part-time basis at his wife Jennifer Martens-Moriarty’s consulting firm – Moriarty Consulting. He will also continue doing photography and has already had a show displaying his work entitled “LaTaza.” He plans to spend the rest of his time with his five children and three grandchildren.
But, before he moves on, MHMST will need to find his replacement. Since announcing his retirement in late June, MHMST has been searching for the right candidate. Moriarty said that if MHMST is to remain true to their mission, they need to find someone who will keep on the same trajectory.
In 1996, MHMST worked with a $50 million endowment and a $2 million budget to grant to nonprofits. Under his leadership, MHMST is now the 10th largest nonprofit funder in the U.S., with a $565 million endowment and a $116 million budget. Moriarty says he expects nothing less from his replacement.
“I understand it’s difficult. I understand it’s hard. I understand having a hospital care system that has to give me $116 million next year for nonprofit-care in the communities is not going to be easy, especially without Medicaid expansion, Affordable Care Act …. you name the things happening on the hospital side of the equation, … but let’s remember why we do this,” said Moriarty.
He continued, “As you interview for my replacement, you need to reflect on what we have done for 20 years and then you need to project out into the next 20 years what can be accomplished.”
Moriarty’s Photography: http://www.moriartyusa.com
Moriarty Consulting: http://moriartyconsulting.com