Texas is different. Those differences guide THI’s approach to community health and motivates why environmental health must be a core component of any effort to build healthy, resilient communities for all. The diverse geography and population of Texas, America’s largest state, requires careful attention to the unique needs of local communities while offering opportunities for regional collaboration to address common health needs across jurisdictions. As an agricultural and petroleum producing state, policies impacting land-use, water quality, and transportation have impacts that cross state lines and have international implications. As a border state, migrant health is a key issue for the public health community. As a Gulf state, Texas will continue to be disproportionately impacted by climate change. Through collaborative action with multiple sectors, THI is poised to meet these challenges.
Produce Evidence and Ideas
We conduct action research and offer technical assistance on behalf of partners working to realize a vision of healthy people and health communities. THI has decades of experience in healthy planning, health impact assessment, health in all policies, economic and policy analysis, and community health assessment. As applied researchers, we offer nimble, flexible options for partners who need quick answers without sacrificing empirical rigor.
With support from the Episcopal Health Foundation and in collaboration with Steve F. Austin State University, THI has conducted research on the implications for population health of local and county government social and public social spending. The project utilized decades of government expenditure data to engage elected and appointed government officials about the impact of prior budget decisions on community health outcomes. A novel health-in-all-policies approach, the research identified opportunities for health considerations in the budget development process for future years.
Translate and Share Insights
THI specializes in understanding how complex systems impact human flourishing and community resilience. We employ historical, social justice, and environmental health perspectives when considering the policy implications of our research and analyses. We share the results of our findings with leaders and stakeholders across sectors and jurisdictions.
We conducted community health needs assessments in East Texas for four integrated health delivery systems in East Texas. While each community health needs assessment yielded separate community health improvement plans specific to the service area, THI observed patterns in the analysis with policy implications for the East Texas region and Texas as a whole. These insights created the foundation for greater sense-making about community health and new strategies to address emerging challenges in rural communities.
Community Health Needs Assessments:
CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Health System
CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Health System
CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System
CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System
Advance Collaborative Action
THI specializes in understanding how complex, global systems impact human flourishing and community resilience. We then convene coalitions, conferences, and learning communities to share knowledge, develop systems change strategies, and inspire leadership for collaborative action. THI has expertise at engaging cross-sectorial and multidisciplinary stakeholders and coordinating collaborative action at local, state, regional, national and international levels.
The recent Lancet Commission on the global syndemic of obesity, under-nutrition, and climate change offers an opportunity for collective action at the regional level. The American South is ground zero for the obesity pandemic in the US, has high rates of food insecurity particularly in rural communities, and will be a region most effected by climate change. The 13th annual SOS was part of a movement to change the narrative, address obesity policy inertia, and reset the agenda for action.
THI research in East Texas revealed complex interlinkages between behavioral health, housing instability, and the criminal justice system. As a result, THI partnered with Stephen F. Austin State University for the HRSA-funded Rural Communities Opioid Response Program. THI will provide its expertise and infrastructure as a convener to support a community-led, multi-sector consortium that will tackle opioid and methamphetamine misuse in Harrison, Panola, and Gregg counties.