The Health Equity Collective is a multi-sector effort focused on creating a more equitable health ecosystem in Greater Houston. The Collective has over 400 members, representing over 140 organizations and more than 50 coalitions, aligned with a shared mission to establish an impactful, sustainable, data-driven system to promote health equity and address the social drivers of health outcomes. Through this data sharing ecosystem, we aim to implement a comprehensive population-level approach to understand and effectively and efficiently address the social determinants of health (SDOH) across Greater Houston communities.
By Working Together, We have the power to build a better, more equitably healthy community.
With our 400+ members representing 140+ organizations and 50+ coalitions across the Greater Houston region, this multi-sector effort is driving better health for all by focusing on systemic and policy solutions to address unmet social needs. A first step in achieving our shared goal is understanding the social determinants of health (SDOH) vulnerabilities among residents and what resources we can leverage to address them. The Health Equity Collective seeks to connect the dots between disparate social service resource directories and community referral platforms to establish a sustainable, data-driven, human-centered ecosystem of care that equitably addresses the SDOH among Greater Houston communities. We will start with food insecurity, document the factors driving food insecurity, and measure the impact of community interventions targeting food insecurity on health outcomes at the population level. This comprehensive population-level approach will then be leveraged and expanded across the spectrum of SDOH.
For details on the process of selecting food security as an indicator of success for an SDOH ecosystem approach, click here.
Health equity for all Greater Houston Area residents
Establish an impactful, collective, sustainable, data-driven system to promote health equity.
Reduce food insecurity across the Greater Houston region by 5% by 2025, improving health outcomes related to diabetes, obesity, mental health, and COVID-19.
(Ways we commit to do this work)
- Respect all stakeholders’ perspectives
- Center people’s needs
- Seek alignment of systems and interests
- Build upon existing strengths and assets
- Measure impact
- Do no harm
(Good things we bring into the world)
- Shared agency
- Dismantled barriers
- Fair allocation of resources
- Transparency and accountability
- Harm prevention, reduction, and redress
What We Do
The Health Equity Collective adopted the Collective Impact Model in developing a systemic approach to promoting health equity across Greater Houston as a part of its 2019 visioning and formation. Grounded in Kania and Kramer’s five phases of collective impact for coalition building, the 140+ organization Coalition operationalizes its mission through its backbone leads, steering committees, and eight workgroups; each with a goal that mutually reinforces and advances the Collective’s vision. To date, phase one (generating ideas), phase two (initiating action), and phase three (organizing for impact) have been completed. Phases four (implementation) and five (sustainability) are currently underway.
- Collecting data and measuring results
- Focus on performance management
- Shared accountability
Mutually Reinforcing Activities
- Differentiated approaches
- Coordination through joint plan of action
- Consistent and open communication
- Focus on building trust
- Separate organization(s) with staff
- Resources and skills to convene and coordinate participating organizations
Data Sharing Ecosystem
Up to 80% of an individual’s health is attributed to SDOH—social, economic, and environmental factors—while a mere 20% is influenced by medical factors. This is largely due to systemic social and institutional barriers that prevent residents from attaining the resources they need to be healthy and productive members of society. These factors may include unstable housing and employment, low access to healthy foods, lack of accessible public transportation, lack of insurance, unaffordable prescription drug costs and more. Despite this, the United States is the only major country to spend more on medical care than social care. Clearly, there is a disparity between healthcare resource distribution and efficacy, and with no mechanism to connect these sectors of the healthcare system, real change is unlikely to happen. Furthermore, because all agencies keep their own private records, there is no current mechanism or infrastructure to help view the full landscape of how a community at large utilizes its resources. With a system that misaligns resources to its community’s needs, has no or low capacity to measure the impact of community investments, and no venue to analyze actionable community data, the healthcare industry is stuck in the status quo.
Our goal is to establish a sustainable, data-driven, human-centered ecosystem of care that equitably addresses SDOH among residents of the Greater Houston area. As a first step towards achieving this mission, we propose to build a cloud-based Community Information Exchange (CIE) linking various local community-based organizations to each other, and to healthcare organizations to facilitate care navigation for social services in the Greater Houston area. The CIE will use a federated model such that it is the framework that will allow multiple organizations (healthcare and CBOs) with varied technologies to connect with one another for the purpose of coordinating care to meet social needs.
Achieving Health Equity
The Health Equity Collective’s focus and mission is establishing a sustainable, data-driven, human-centered ecosystem of care that equitably addresses the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) among residents of the Greater Houston area. We promote cross-system and cross-sector partnerships among organizations serving SDOH needs, including healthcare, social services, public health, government, for-profit, insurance companies, and academia, among other areas.
There are key milestones across the Framework’s four actions for health:
Health & Social Services Coordination
- Develop multi-sectoral data governance process
- Implement resource directory exchange infrastructure with the master resource index
- Implement referral network infrastructure linking social services in the Greater Houston area
Cross Sector Programs & Interventions
- Compile best practices, opportunities, and challenges for SDOH interventions across the region
- Develop and facilitate implementation of multi-sector SDOH intervention workflows – starting with food security
- Establish recommended SDOH data processes for the region (in accordance with developing national & state efforts)
Advocacy & Policy Change
- Advocate for SDOH policies to support the Collective efforts at the local, state, and national levels
- Develop community voice capacity for advocacy to support grassroots policy promotion
Research, Evaluation, & Learning
- Establish a Geographical Information Systems analytics core to support social service organizations and Health Equity Collective needs
- Work to develop policy and advocacy capacity with a focus on the Greater Houston area
- Support alignment of SDOH efforts across the regional and state ecosystem, both thematically and geographically
View mighty networks
Get updated on the Health Equity Collective’s latest news stories.
May 12, 2021 | UT Health News
February 2021 | Cy-Fair Community Impact Newspaper
Research & Reports
The Health Equity Collective provides a wide variety of evidence-based resources related to the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) and regular progress updates.
Ready to make a difference?
The Health Equity Collective welcomes interested individuals and organizations to join as general members. Our general members prefer quarterly updates on our progress. We also welcome anyone who wants to roll up their sleeves and be a part of the action by participating in one or more of the workgroups. If this describes you or your organization, we would love to see you involved in this work – Helping us drive better health together. Please take a few minutes to complete the form or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org