St. Joseph Medical Center 2014: What’s New at Houston’s First Hospital

HOUSTON (August 20, 2014) – When many Houstonians think about Houston’s first hospital – St. Joseph Medical Center (SJMC), they often reflect on the hospital’s grand legacy as the birthplace of hundreds of thousands of Houstonians.

SJMC first opened its doors as a 40-bed infirmary in June 1887, ran by the Sisters of Charity under the direction of the Diocese of Galveston at that time. With a 127-year history, it’s no surprise that SJMC has provided many of Texas’ and Houston’s firsts including becoming the first teaching facility, the first hospital to offer maternity care, emergency medicine, x-ray imaging and many other cutting-edge technologies over the years.

Shift forward to 2014 and there have been many changes to the hospital from the old days.

SJMC has always been well-known for providing high quality women’s healthcare and surgical services, but many new Houstonians are just learning more about SJMC and the wide range of services the hospital offers, both at the main downtown campus and their second location at 1917 Ashland Street in the Heights including:

  • 28-bed Level III Emergency Trauma Center
  • Advanced Wound Care Center
  • Cancer Care / Radiation Oncology
  • Cardiovascular Services including Open Heart Surgery and a Dedicated Cardiovascular Care Unit
  • Center for Behavioral Health with Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment Options
  • Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology
  • Center for Sleep Disorders
  • Infusion Therapy Clinic
  • International Medicine Program
  • Corporate Wellness Program
  • Sports Medicine & Orthopedics
  • SJMC Physician Services, a 19-provider multi-specialty group
  • Skilled Nursing and Rehab Unit

Another first for SJMC came in January 2014, when Elizabeth T. Bonefas, M.D. , a board-certified general and breast surgeon, became the first female chief of staff for the facility. “It is a privilege to serve as chief of staff at the same hospital that I completed my surgical internship and general residency programs,” said Bonefas. “I’ve been a member of the medical staff since 1989, so I suppose it was just my turn after all these years,” Bonefas playfully added.

Dr. Bonefas has seen many changes to SJMC over the years, but is currently excited about the direction the hospital is moving toward. “Great things are happening at St. Joseph Medical Center. My patients receive great care there and the operating room staff is top-notch.”

This June, SJMC welcomed their new CEO, Mark Bernard. Bernard came from the San Antonio market, where for the last 18 years, he served as the CEO of Northeast Methodist Hospital which is part of the Methodist Healthcare System. During the first ten of those eighteen years, he was also the CEO of Metropolitan Methodist Hospital, the “downtown” facility of that healthcare system.

Throughout his career, Mark has had success in improving employee engagement, strengthening medical staff relations, growing service lines and improving quality. Before his time with the Methodist Healthcare System, he served as the CEO of Southwest General Hospital in San Antonio and Garland Community Hospital in Garland, TX.

“In a short amount of time, Mark has made tremendous strides with garnering the trust and confidence among physicians and the clinical staff. I feel very encouraged about the future of St. Joseph and look forward to working with him to take the hospital to an even greater status within the Houston medical community,” Bonefas added.

For more information about SJMC services, physicians and career opportunities, go to or call 713-757-1000.

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