Telling Our Story . . . 1922 to Present

 Mission Statement

The mission of San José Clinic is to provide quality healthcare and education to those with limited access to such services in an environment which respects the dignity of each person.

San José Clinic, the original safety-net clinic in Houston, has steadfastly grown into a leading provider of quality healthcare services for individuals and families in the Greater Houston area who struggle the most with accessing care. The Clinic began with the vision of Monsignor Walsh, a donation of $50 from the Charity Guild of Catholic Women and volunteers from the community, who all came together with the same hope of breaking down barriers to healthcare for the underserved. Ninety years later, we proudly uphold the legacy of our founders by continuing to provide healthcare for those who need a health home the most, including primary and specialty medical and dental care as well as vision, laboratory and pharmacy services.

This number, especially in the current economic environment, continues to rise. In keeping with our original call for volunteerism, in 2013 San José Clinic utilized 802 volunteers who together contributed 24,284 hours of service at a value of $756,287. There were 662 patient care volunteers, including dentists, physicians, registered dental hygienists, registered nurses and medical and dental assistants. The 140 patient support volunteers included students, retirees, corporate employees, and family and friends who assisted administratively through medical transcription, chart auditing and special events, among many other projects.

The Clinic relies on volunteers, donated medications and supplies, and philanthropic support, which combine to keep the clinic costs at a minimum. Last year, the Clinic received $2.8 million worth of prescription medicine through the Patient Assistance Program, over $450,000 worth of medical laboratory services from The Methodist Hospital Community Benefits Program and over $2.7 million in philanthropic support.


 Historical Milestones



In 1922, responding to the rising rate of infant mortality in the Mexican community of Houston, Monsignor George T. Walsh of Annunciation Catholic Church appeals to the Charity Guild of Catholic Women to establish a free clinic to serve the health needs of the poor. “Clinica Gratuita” is founded, offering treatment of the skin, eye, nose and throat, dental, pre-natal care and free eyeglasses.


The Clinic opens its doors at 1900 Franklin Street in July 1924. Furniture and medical supplies are donated from sources throughout the community, and physicians volunteer their time and services to treat patients.


In 1925, the Clinic moves to a larger frame house at 1909 Canal Street.


Clinica Gratuita becomes the “Mexican Clinic” in 1928 after joining the Community Chest, now known as the United Way.


By 1932, infant mortality in Houston has decreased by 65% among the Mexican population. In the first 10 months of the year, the Clinic provides services for over 13,000 patients with a monthly budget of $500 and a paid staff of three.


In the 1940s, services are expanded to meet the ever-increasing needs of the community. The Clinic is now handling over 1,200 patients per month, providing the essentials such as baby food and eyeglasses to those most in need, and offering preventative healthcare and education to families.

The Houston Chronicle extols the accomplishments of the Clinic, “How the Clinic does so much on such a small amount of money is the result of a practical group of women who manage the Clinic so efficiently.”

On March 19, 1947, Bishop Christopher Byrne blesses and renames the Clinic – “This is St. Joseph’s Day, and the name of this Clinic should be changed to… San José Clinic.”



From January 1954 - March 1956, San José Clinic is housed in two connecting apartments at 1919 Runnels while their new facility was under construction. The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word assume administration of the Clinic.


In 1956, with a generous donation from the Scanlan Foundation, San José Clinic relocated to land owned by the Galveston-Houston Diocese at 301 Hamilton. This new facility of over 4,600 square feet provides space for added gynecological and surgical services. San José Clinic would call this location home for 56 years.


By 1960, San José Clinic is handling over 30,000 patient visits each year. As demand for services and patient numbers increase, the Clinic undergoes extensive renovation to double the facility size, thanks to a $100,000 gift from the Scanlan Foundation. San José Clinic begins offering dermatology, podiatry, diabetes care, and mental health programs. Some of these programs are part of collaborative agreements with Houston’s medical institutions.


In the 1970s, many academic and collaborative relationships are formed between the Clinic and groups throughout the community, including the Dominican School of Nursing, University of Texas – Houston Medical School Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas Dental Branch, St. Elizabeth Hospital and University of Texas – Houston Health Science Center.


By 1981, the number of children served at San José Clinic has doubled since 1965 to over 6,000 annually. The Well Baby Clinic staffed by doctors from the University of Texas-Houston Medical School Department of Pediatrics offers complete physical exams.

In this era, long before endowments became popular, the Charity Guild of Catholic Women establishes a trust for San José Clinic. At the time, this donation of over $50,000 annually helps fund pediatric services.



On August 16, 2002, the San José Clinic eye clinic is renamed the “Socorro Rouse Memorial Eye Clinic” to honor Ms. Rouse, LVN. Ms. Rouse tragically passed away in a hit-and-run accident on her way to work at the Clinic.


Governor Rick Perry honors San José Clinic with the Champion of Volunteerism award at the 2005 Governor’s Volunteer Awards.

In 2005, the average cost per visit is $81, including primary and specialty medical care, dental care, pharmaceuticals, lab services and limited x-rays.


In 2006, the Clinic began a strategic plan to include expansion to a larger facility. Within six months, through a generous gift from the CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare at the request of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, planning for a new building is underway.


The Clinic relocates to the John S. Dunn/W.T. & Louise J Moran Family Health Center to meet the growing needs of the community in 2012.

The 55,000 square foot 3-story building is a collaboration with the CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare and Catholic Charities. The new site is within close proximity of downtown, easily accessible from the MetroRail and bus lines, and is closer to the Texas Medical Center – home of many Clinic partners and collaborators.

From just 15 partnerships in 2005, the Clinic partners with over 40 groups by 2012. Nearly 800 volunteers give of their time at the Clinic – an increase of over 350% from 2005.

In 2013, through partnerships and grant funding, the Clinic meets the longstanding need of expanding primary care, resulting in a full-time, contract primary care physician and a staffed Family Nurse Practitioner.