The Rose: Our Story

A Texas Treasure

                          Dr. Dixie Melillo and Dorothy Gibbons 

The Rose is a Texas-based, non-profit breast health organization providing mammograms, diagnostics and access to treatment and care to over 40,000 women each year.  Founded in 1986, by Dixie Melillo, M.D. and Dorothy Weston Gibbons, The Rose is well known for its ability to serve the most vulnerable while providing excellence in breast health care to every woman, insured or uninsured.  

Every insured woman helps The Rose care for the uninsured.  With two comprehensive mammography and diagnostic centers located in Houston Texas, and a fleet of Mobile mammography Vans covering most of Southeast Texas, The Rose is well known for its unique approach to women's health, is advanced technology and its model of sustainability.  The Rose began to help those who fall through the cracks, those who face the temporary set-back that could cost them their life. The Rose succeeds because of a community that cares and because people continue to believe that the world can be a better place.

The Women of the Rose, a book written by Dorothy Gibbons, is the story about The Rose's beginning and its journey throughout the past thirty years. From a small grassroots organization, its programs are now modeled throughout the United States and abroad.   It is a story about women—strong, determined, vulnerable, heartbroken, hurt and healing women--who do whatever it takes to care for other women, especially the uninsured.

The Women of The Rose is also a story about the power of believing and what happens when belief and dreams become a reality.  It is about women in leadership.  It debunks the myths surrounding the problems of women working with women and reveals a culture of collaboration and high productively that emerges within an organization consisting primarily of woman. It is a story about Texas and the essence of Texas Women. There is a saying that if a female succeeds in Texas, then she has to be more than ‘potent,’ she has to be ‘kick-butt.’ It is also said that in Texas you have to be who you are—it’s too hot to be anything else.

Most of all, The Rose and its story, is about women who survive. They are not all breast cancer survivors but each is a survivor of a way of life in Texas that defies logic and understanding. They are making their mark despite the Good Ol’ Boys network and defying Texas politics that remain opposed to improving women’s health. Some are recovering from cancer treatment as much as they are battling the prejudices of poverty. They are overcoming the ordeals of misdiagnosis and ineffective chemotherapies or the frustration of trying to navigate the ‘medical maze of confusion’ inherent in traditional healthcare. Most learn to rely on an internal source for healing as well as for finding solutions for the future. 

For some of the women, the measure of their success means dying with dignity.

The Rose was created in the shadows of one of the world’s largest medical systems. Within that setting of unlimited medical services and scientific advances is the unfathomable truth that access to care and treatment for cancer remains a luxury, reserved for those who can afford it or who have the insurance to cover it. 

Who will enjoy The Women of The Rose?

This book will appeal to women in general, to women in leadership and to those dealing with cancer.  Other audiences include people engaged in the nonprofit sector, those who want to start their own non-profit organization and those who deal with public policy.  Anyone who has ever had a dream of  being part of making the world a better place will find inspiration and caution, finding that running a nonprofit is as difficult as managing any business and filled with rewards beyond imagination.