Longtime Methodist Healthcare Ministries employee Dianne Dorsett greets friends during her retirement ceremony on Tuesday after 25 years at the organization. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

In 1995, Dianne Dorsett got some news from her boss: She was going to lose her job at the Methodist Hospital Foundation. But Dorsett’s role in improving health care in San Antonio and beyond was far from at an end.

She joined the new organization that was formed after Methodist Hospital and HCA Healthcare Inc. agreed to share ownership in what is now Methodist Healthcare, becoming its first employee. 

“At that time, there was no name or mission,” Dorsett said. “We built that from the ground up.”

Today, the nonprofit Methodist Healthcare Ministries (MHM) helps provide health care for uninsured people in 74 counties across South Texas by creating partnerships with providers and providing grants that enhance access to health care for the state’s most vulnerable populations.  

And after 25 years, Dorsett is retiring from the nonprofit after serving in a variety of positions, including director of human resources and director of public relations, which she did in addition to her main role as MHM’s liaison to its board of directors.

At Dorsett’s retirement celebration on Tuesday, dozens of MHM’s current and former employees  gathered at its main office in the South Texas Medical Center to pay tribute to the woman President and CEO Jaime Wesolowski called “a pillar of health care in San Antonio.”

Jaime Wesolowski, president and chief executive officer at Methodist Healthcare Ministries (right), honors Dianne Dorsett upon her retirement.

“This organization is still thriving today in large part because of Dianne and her commitment to those in need,” Wesolowski said. “Even though she is retiring, she has her fingerprints all over our future.”

MHM owns half of the Methodist Healthcare System – the largest health care system in South Texas – and runs more than 20 hospitals and clinics in the region. The facilities provide revenue to MHM for programs that provide free health care, including the Wesley Nurse Program based out of more than 80 regional churches, and two school-based locations in Guadalupe County.

Wesolowski said Dorsett served as a mentor to him when he joined the staff in June and to “basically every employee that has been hired in the last 25 years.”

“She has worked side by side with the entire staff, every step of the way, to make sure everyone has what they need to do the best job they can. And she did that because of her dedication to the mission of serving humanity to honor God,” Wesolowski said. “Dianne has lived those words every single day since I met her.”

Dorsett said that because the staff was so small when the organization began, she was able to lend a hand in every department. 

“When new people come on board, I just do what I can to make sure they are prepared to serve the mission and what we have built,” Dorsett said.

“I am so proud of what we have been able to accomplish. Passing on what I know to those who will help [MHM] continue to grow has been a true privilege.”

George Scofield, who served as the nonprofit’s legal counsel early on, said that Dorsett is a natural leader “but the genuine care and concern she has for people is what makes her special.”

“She cares about relationships, she cares about resolving conflicts, and she can bring people together in a way that somehow makes them all able to shine their own light a little more brightly,” Scofield said. “She just knows people and what makes them tick, and she knows this organization inside and out.

Dr. Paula Larson, a physician at Methodist Hospital, referred to Dorsett as “the office mom,” because she knows everything about everyone and understands how to resolve conflict in the workplace and help people hone their talents.

“And I say she is the office mom in addition to everything else she does,” Larson said. “She is also a true servant leader and hard-working professional.”

Dorsett, now 70, said she is ready to retire, and that when she set out to look for someone to replace her, some of the skills she was looking for were “interpersonal skills, good writing skills, and someone who is very organized.” She selected Diane Bayer, who was previously with Methodist Healthcare and will be the new board liaison for MHM.

“There is a great need in the world for more people committed to helping people live better, healthier, and more fulfilling lives, and that is at the heart of what we do,” Dorsett said. “As long as everyone holds on to the importance of serving humanity, there is no limit to what the organization will continue to be able to do.”

Roseanna Garza reports on health and bioscience for the San Antonio Report.