Urgent Issues Action Plan


 

COMMUNITY HEALTH

The Community Health Assessment has focused on three areas: physical health, mental health, and substance abuse. The report is the commencement of a transition from focusing on diseases and mortality to focusing on the causes and determinants of disease and ill health. The transition also emphasizes the importance and cost effectiveness of promoting wellness and healthy behaviors.

The issues, solutions and actions presented in the attached matrix are based on the data collected and the information provided by community focus groups and a forum. Four health initiatives were developed which have the greatest potential to improve individual and community quality of life, productivity, and the efficient use of resources in central Texas. They are:

1. Understanding and reducing the significant disparities in mental health, physical health, and substance abuse that exist in Travis County;
2. Focusing sufficient resources for creative, effective efforts in preventing illness and injury and maintaining a healthy lifestyle (utilization of wellness and prevention strategies);
3. Improving access to health care and services, especially for the indigent and working poor, to ensure detection and treatment of illness and injury at the earliest possible time;
4. Reducing substance abuse and its impacts on the community.

This set of preliminary recommendations presented in the attached matrix is not intended to fulfill a comprehensive community planning process. The recommendations identified represent work already in development by various organizations. These recommendations are intended to set the direction for a more complete and inclusive planning process.

The first two initiatives, reducing health disparities and focusing on wellness and prevention, are the newest and less developed strategies, and both involve community-based approaches. The primary agencies leading the planning processes for these two initiatives are Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services, University of Texas School of Nursing, Austin Travis County Mental Health Mental Retardation Center, and the Central Texas Communities of Color Health Network. The most crucial strategy includes the development of a Community Wellness and Prevention Consortium: which is a partnership of public health agencies, schools, businesses, community-based organizations, neighborhood associations, and faith-based organizations to jointly engage in creative and efficient wellness promotion, disease and injury prevention, and marketing of healthy lifestyles. The consortium will promote partnerships between member groups enhancing their capabilities beyond the resources and capacity of any one member. The objectives of the consortium will include, but not limited to:

  • Encourage collaborations between consortium members;
  • Advocate for wellness and prevention programs and resources;
  • Plan strategies for wellness and prevention activities;
  • Develop standardized wellness and prevention messages; and
  • Coordinate wellness and prevention assessments within targeted neighborhoods.

The third initiative, improving access to health care, is being coordinated by the Indigent Care Collaboration (ICC). The ICC has been engaged in strategies to improve health insurance coverage to the uninsured and under-served, with plans to partner with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in the Communities in Charge project. Their objectives are to:

  • Lead efforts to maximize the efficiency of regional service delivery network;
  • Strengthen existing successful programs and pilot the impact of increased delivery efficiency; and
  • Develop strategies for long-term sustainable healthcare financing.

The fourth initiative, reducing the impact of substance abuse, is being developed by the Substance Abuse Planning Partnership and has a separate matrix document.

The committee may be contacted through Pete Oxner, (512) 707-5935.

Community Health Matrix (mental health, physical health, and substance abuse)
Substance Abuse Matrix

2001 Urgent Issues Action Plan Home Page