The partnership will work to provide better health for more people by advancing community health, closing gaps in health disparities, and activating community members to lead healthier lives. It aims to be the largest coordinated community health improvement effort in the city’s history.
The initiative will improve health in Houston and drive measureable results by bringing together leaders from across the corporate, governmental, healthcare, academic, and non-profit sectors. Initial local leadership discussions have been held with: the governments of the City of Houston and Harris County; educational institutions like the Rice University’s Baker Institute and the University of Texas School of Public Health; healthcare insurers; healthcare providers including Texas Medical Center and Harris County’s Harris Health System; other large employers such as BP, and community groups including Shape Up Houston and Harris County Healthcare Alliance.
President Bill Clinton, founder of the Clinton Foundation said,“This initiative will promote healthier lifestyles in Houston by working with diverse organizations across the public and private sectors. Each of us the City of Houston, GE, and the Clinton Health Matters Initiative will leverage our expertise to collectively strengthen the health and well-being of all Houstonians, and create a model for other cities trying to improve their health.”
The 2012 Houston State of Health report notes nearly 34% of Houston high school students and nearly 66% of Houston adults are overweight or obese. 8.9% of Houston area adults have been diagnosed with diabetes and 5.1% of Houston area adults have been diagnosed with some form of heart disease.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker said,“Houston has always been the heart of healthcare in America. We are coming together to improve our health in Houston just as Houston improves the health of the world. Together we will drive progress.”
David S. Lopez, president and CEO, Harris Health System said,““When organizations like GE and the Clinton Health Matters Initiative come together, positive gains for our community are possible. Harris Health System, which focuses on the delivery of primary care, wellness and prevention services to the residents of Harris County, fully supports these efforts that aim to create a healthier community and improve the well-being of the people who live here.”
A Plan for Action
The program in Houston will adopt best practices from both GE’s healthymagination cities initiative and the Clinton Foundation’s work.
Launched in 2009 in the greater Cincinnati area, GE’s healthymagination cities program brings together city leaders, local employers, providers, payers and civic organizations to establish region-wide treatment standards, encourage more efficient information exchange and improve health and wellness education among those battling chronic diseases. To date, the program has helped create more than 100 new primary care medical homes, resulted in fewer emergency room visits, and increased the percentage of “high risk” pediatric asthma population that rated “well controlled” by physician and parent from 29% to nearly 76%. Based on this success, GE expanded this program to Louisville, Kentucky and Erie, Pennsylvania in 2012. For more information on GE’s work in cities please visit: healthymagination.com/our-work/transforming-cities/
Sue Siegel, CEO, healthymagination, GE said,“Health is an investment we must protect and that means we all have to do things differently. This initiative is being designed in partnership with the Houston community to disrupt the status quo and improve the long-term sustainability of the city’s system.”
GE employs more than 6,000 employees in the Houston region.
The Clinton Health Matters Initiative, a program of the Clinton Foundation, is a national initiative that works to improve the health and well-being of people across the United States to advance community health by closing gaps in health disparities and focusing efforts in underserved areas. CHMI has been at work in the Coachella Valley region of California and greater Little Rock in Arkansas. CHMI will also encourage individuals to lead healthier lives by providing an online platform to connect people with local, scalable solutions for healthy change agents.
GE and the Clinton Foundation hope to capitalize on the existing Houston initiatives to improve health and quality of life. The City of Houston is active in the Community Transformation movement to improve health and prevent chronic disease through policy, environmental and systems interventions. Mayor Annise Parker established a Go Healthy Houston Task Force to effect behavior change in corporate and community practice regarding nutrition and activity. The Houston Endowment funded Healthy Living Matters, a partnership to reduce childhood obesity. Regionally, the Houston-Galveston Area Council is creating plans and partnerships to enhance the regions’ quality of life and economic opportunity.
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About the Clinton Health Matters Initiative
The Clinton Health Matters Initiative (CHMI) works to improve the health and well-being of people across the United States by activating individuals, communities, and organizations to make meaningful contributions to the health of others. CHMI works to implement evidence-based systems, environmental and investment strategies, with the goals of ultimately reducing the prevalence of preventable diseases, reducing health care costs associated with preventable diseases, and improving the quality of life for people across America. CHMI works to activate individuals to lead healthier lives by providing a platform to access local, scalable solutions for healthy change agents; advance community health by closing gaps in health disparities and focusing efforts in underserved areas; and, engage the private sector through pledges to improve the health and well-being of the nation. These successes are showcased each January at the Health Matters conference, where national thought leaders convene to discuss ways in which individuals, communities, and corporations can contribute to the health of others.