Reintroducing the Texas Research-to-Policy Collaboration
Published: December 21, 2022
Written by: Emily Levin
With the 2022 Texas general election completed and the legislators and legislators-elect beginning to file bills for the 88th Legislative Session, it is essential to have a data-driven, reputable source for public health policy. The Texas Research-to-Policy Collaboration (TX RPC) Project serves as a resource for legislative offices, advocates, and constituents interested in policies that make Texans healthier.
TX RPC takes a non-partisan approach to inform Texas health policy. We are a team of public health professionals from the UTHealth Houston School of Public Health, located in Austin, who provide policymakers with Texas-level data and research in a concise and informative manner, share current research on health issues, and establish partnerships between researchers and policymakers. Forty-seven researchers from institutions across Texas are currently participating and available to offer expertise on various health topics including food insecurity and access, child behavioral health, school health, maternal and child health, and healthcare access. Our primary goal is to support the development and implementation of policies promoting child and family health in Texas.
What We Do
We began our preparation for the 88th Legislative Session by reviewing the 87th Session Interim Charges to understand the goals for the upcoming session. From there, we began hosting health policy events at the Capitol, including our Legislative Lunch and Learns. These sessions provided an opportunity for legislators and their staff to connect with researchers with expertise on relevant topics such as child behavioral health and food insecurity in Texas.
Once a legislator joins the collaboration, we conduct a brief interview with their staff to understand their legislative priorities and how we can best provide information and Texas data to support their office’s health-related priorities. Based on the feedback we receive through the interviews, we curate specific resources, collect relevant data, and work with our network to find the most qualified researcher(s) to guide the legislator's office. We review the interviews and match legislators and researchers based on interest areas, location, and availability. Once matches are established, the matched participants receive an introduction and contact information to begin developing a working partnership. Legislators and their staff not matched as part of our process can request information and assistance by submitting a request here. Throughout the session, the TX RPC Project serves as a resource for legislators and will continue to publish and disseminate health policy-related blog posts and reports.
Texas Legislative Bill Tracker
Our Texas Legislative Bill Tracker is one of our most exciting features and resources. Since the 83rd Texas Legislative Session in 2013, the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living has hosted a legislative bill tracker focused on proposed bills related to child and adolescent health. Fast forward to today, and you will find the bill tracker has undergone changes to make it a more thorough and user-friendly tool. Our current 88th Texas Legislative Session Bill Tracker is segmented into broad categories, including early childhood education, food policy, school/after-school care, and tobacco/e-cigarettes. All bills related to a specific category are listed with the bill number, author, status, brief description, and links to similar bills from past Texas legislative sessions. The bill tracker can be used to follow these bills' status as they move through the legislative process. Bill pre-filing began November 14, 2022, and March 10, 2023, marks the 60-day deadline for bill filing.
So, how can the TX RPC help you?
- Check out our webpage for updated reports and resources in addition to the Texas Legislative Bill Tracker.