Texas Health joins collaborative to accelerate health equity

Special to the Empire-Tribune

Texas Health Resources is part of one of only two teams in Texas and 20 teams in the nation to be selected to participate in the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Hospital Community Collaborative. The collaborative provides proven insights and resources for creating effective collaborations between hospitals and community organizations to accelerate health equity.

Leadership for the American Hospital Association Hospital Community Collaborative in Erath County includes Lisa Scroggins, Erath County United Way; Staci King, City of Stephenville and Erath County United Way Board; Silvia Zamora, Erath County United Way; Dana Worrell, Texas Health Resources; Holly Hubbard, Tarleton State University; and Dr. Misty Smith, Tarleton State University.

Texas Health’s team, including Erath County United Way and Tarleton State University, is supporting the Erath County Community Bridges program. Targeting specific high-needs ZIP codes in Erath County, the program focuses on areas with the best opportunities for effecting change and promoting health equity. These areas include:

• Decreasing depression and anxiety

• Increasing access to healthy food

• Enhancing resource navigation services

“Equity is a priority for Texas Health, both within our organization and in the community,” said David Tesmer, chief community and public policy officer for Texas Health. “The Community Bridges program helps us advance health equity in Erath County, with a goal of giving everyone the opportunity to attain their full health potential, regardless of their socially determined circumstances.”

The AHA’s Hospital Community Collaborative is made up of 20 hospital-community teams from throughout the country. These teams are dedicated to eliminating healthcare disparities and tackling population health issues. The collaborative focuses on strengthening community partnerships to help meet community health needs, measure outcomes and share leading practices.

“Meeting the Community Bridges program’s goals requires us to collaborate with a wide variety of community organizations,” said Catherine Oliveros, DrPH, vice president of Community Health Improvement for Texas Health. “Through the Hospital Community Collaborative, we can access best practices, tools and resources, and guidance from leading community health experts to help us effectively collaborate with those organizations to meet our goals.”

Tarleton State University views the collaboration with Texas Health and the Erath County United Way as not only a way to improve health equity but also as an opportunity for students to learn from and give back to the community.

“Through this collaborative and creative partnership, we are committed to adequately preparing our students to address and meet the holistic healthcare needs of our local community and guiding our students to apply this framework to the future professions that they will embark upon, including counseling, social work, nutrition sciences and nursing,” said Dr. Misty Smith, DSW, LMSW-IPR.

In February, Texas Health awarded a nearly $600,000 Community Impact grant to the Erath County Community Bridges program.

“The Erath County United Way has worked together with our community for 50 years, and we are pleased to serve as the lead organization for the Texas Health Community Impact grant through Erath County Community Bridges,” said Lisa Scroggins, executive director, Erath County United Way.

“The Hospital Community Collaborative, along with the Community Impact grant, give us great strength in working with community organizations in Erath County to successfully address social determinants of health upstream,” Oliveros said.