Claire Williams, Toi Harris, Jean Woo, Katherine O’Brien, Alison Haralson, Deborah Gordon, Rhonda Abbott, Blake Abbott, Greg HaralsonTIRR Memorial Hermann has received the prestigious Community Investment Award from Alexander Jewish Family Service (Alexander JFS), a 110-year-old social service agency that serves people of all faiths and backgrounds and is dedicated to transforming the lives of individuals, families and communities in the Houston area.

The award, which was established in 2021, is presented to a company, foundation or non-profit that prioritizes the goal of making the communities they serve better and empowering the people in them to strengthen and improve their lives. Honorees also strive to infuse their organization’s operational culture with values and actions that align with these aspirations, and their contributions—both financial and otherwise—support this goal.

“At Alexander JFS, we wanted to honor TIRR Memorial Hermann’s commitment to reaching outside the walls of the hospital to create more welcoming spaces for people with disabilities throughout the Houston region,” said Carl Josehart, MSW, the CEO of Alexander JFS and former CEO of TIRR Memorial Hermann.

Previous recipients of the Community Investment Award include grocery store chain HEB and Amegy Bank. Each honoree conducts active philanthropy and community engagement to better the lives of the communities they serve. TIRR Memorial Hermann received the honor during the JFS LiVE! event on November 16, 2023.

Mark and Karen Edelman, Rhonda Abbott, Todd and Sylvia Riff and Carl JosehartTIRR Memorial Hermann, a national leader in medical rehabilitation and research, has long strived to be a driving force in creating inclusive communities where their patients can return and continue their healing journeys, and has served as a powerful advocate for the full inclusion of people with disabilities into society. The health system has worked closely with community partners such as the Houston Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities and the JFS Alexander Institute for Inclusion as part of these efforts, according to Rhonda M. Abbott, PT, FACHE, who is TIRR Memorial Hermann’s senior vice president and CEO.

She explained that TIRR Memorial Hermann's efforts continue the legacy of the hospital’s leadership, including former executive and disability rights activist Lex Frieden, who has been called the “chief architect” of the Americans with Disabilities Act and remains a driving force behind Houston’s efforts to enhance accessibility and inclusion.

Since 2013, TIRR Memorial Hermann has served as the founding lead sponsor of the ReelAbilities Film and Arts Festival in Houston, which is produced by the JFS Alexander Institute for Inclusion.

Rhonda M. Abbott and Carl Josehart”The health system’s leadership and investment have been vital toward advancing the festival’s mission and making it among the most successful ReelAbilities events in the nation,” said Josehart.

“The festival has dramatically changed the landscape in Houston, demonstrating that if you capture people’s hearts through stories and art, then their heads will follow in building an inclusive community,” he added.

Indeed, over the past decade, the annual citywide festival has become a transformative event that reaches tens of thousands of Houstonians, including students of all ages, during nearly a month of programming. By using the arts to change perceptions of people with disabilities, ReelAbilities has created, and continues to nurture, a diverse community of advocates for inclusion and accessibility, Abbott said.

“This wonderful award is a testament to the legacy of the relationship that’s existed between Alexander JFS and TIRR Memorial Hermann for many, many years,” Abbott added. “It highlights the commitment of the two organizations to work together to make lives better for people with disabilities. Here at TIRR Memorial Hermann, we strive to be a health care provider that isn’t just providing health care, and partnerships like the one we have with Alexander JFS are integral to that.”

Winter 2024 Edition
US News and World Report Best Hospitals Badge
Nationally Ranked Rehabilitation

For the 34th consecutive year, TIRR Memorial Hermann is recognized as the best rehabilitation hospital in Texas and No. 4 in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report's "Best Rehabilitation Hospitals" in America.

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