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Collaboration provides children with much-needed school supplies

Written By: Simone Sonnier, UT Physicians | Updated: August 26, 2021
Jensen Back to School Event-55-resized

Pastor David L. Smith (left) and his wife accepting the donated supplies from Andrew Casas, senior vice president of UTHealth and chief operating officer of UT Physicians (right). (Photo by Kim Kham, UT Physicians)

An annual back-to-school event left the UT Physicians Multispecialty – Jensen clinic with extra school supplies. But, the staff knew just who to reach to make sure it would make it into the hands of those in need.

For years, Pastor David L. Smith has been a fundamental figure in the Eastex and Jensen community. Since the opening of the Jensen clinic, he has acted as a liaison between the health care staff and residents.

“We’ve always had a relationship because we understood how important it was to bridge the gap between resources and people who need help,” said Pastor Smith. “Whenever there’s an event, we always come out to support.”

At this event, support meant helping to hand out over 60 backpacks filled with school supplies to children before the start of school.

Pastor Smith, along with the New Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church family, distributed the donations to community members, including students of the James Berry Elementary school.

“Something as small as a backpack with school supplies can be very impactful,” said Pastor Smith. “Not everyone has a job or sustainable income, so every little bit helps and any savings they have can go toward food or bills. This takes one burden away from them.”

Marlon Stewart, practice manager of the Jensen clinic, says this is just one example of how community engagement helps address various social issues.

“Utilizing our resources to improve not only the health, but education and other support systems, of those we serve is, and will continue to be, our greatest privilege,” said Stewart.

Andrew Casas
Andrew Casas, senior VP, UTHealth, COO, UT Physicians

“Fostering a relationship with community leaders in the Jensen area is critical to understanding the needs of current and potential patients. We understand that sometimes those needs go beyond health care,” said Andrew Casas, senior vice president of UTHealth and chief operating officer of UT Physicians. “We appreciate Pastor Smith’s help getting our surplus school supplies to the families and children in need.”

Ultimately, Pastor Smith is grateful for any opportunity to collaborate with UT Physicians and help those in need in the Eastex and Jensen area.

“We thank God for these donations for our students and we’re so thankful for UT Physicians and UTHealth,” he said.

As the clinical practice of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, UT Physicians has locations across the Greater Houston area to serve the community. To schedule an appointment, call 888-4UT-DOCS.