The newly created Texas A&M Institute for Public Health Improvement launched the Healthy Texas Initiative, a novel guideline set to deliver evidence-based education, monitoring, and interventions to improve public health in Texas. The initiative’s pilot program “Healthy South Texas 2025” aims to reduce preventable diseases and their consequences by 25 percent by the year 2025.
Healthy Texas will bring together experts from medicine, nursing, pharmacy, biomedical science, public health, architecture, and extension to fight the diseases with the highest impact in the region, which include diabetes, asthma, and infectious disease. The program, developed in collaboration between Texas A&M Health Science Center and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, aims not only to engage families on education, behavior change, and quality of medical care and disease control, but also to increase the research on agriculture and human health.
“Just imagine, on one end of the county, our agriculture extension agent is talking to farmers and ranchers about growing healthy crops and livestock. On the other end of the county, our health science center personnel, utilizing the assets of our extension service, are talking to families about how to grow healthy children. This will keep people out of hospitals while saving billions of dollars,” said John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, as he announced the project.
Brett P. Giroir, M.D., CEO of Texas A&M Health Science Center, stated that the center is bringing “the right players to the table,” as it works in creating a set of signature academic health programs designed to impact patient populations while training the next generation of health care professionals in an innovative, multi-disciplinary setting. “This has been in planning for more than two years, yet the results will have lasting implications on the health and wellness of South Texas for generations to come,” he explained.
The project is also expected to reduce the overall expenditures associated with preventable diseases, as it works in partnership with the region’s Medicaid Managed Cares. The Healthy Texas Initiative has already been supported by the Senate Health & Human Services committee, which supports the idea that teaching people to take personal responsibility by their own health could reduce community costs associated with preventable diseases.
“The Healthy Texas Initiative is an exciting new endeavor that reinforces our message of ‘prevention is the solution. I applaud Texas A&M for their innovative approach and am looking forward to seeing this program put into place,” said Senator Jane Nelson, chair of the Senate Health & Human Services committee, in contributed remarks.
Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa also expressed his “honor” to introduce the initiative, as he believes it will have an immediate and profound impact on Texans’ lives and, in particular, South Texans. “It makes sense to me that the Texas A&M System would use its renowned presence in the state’s 254 counties with agricultural extension and the health science center’s multi-campus presence in my native South Texas to improve overall health and wellness,” Hinojosa said.