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Transforming Texas
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What Is Transforming Texas?

​A five-year, federally funded initiative supporting communities, workplaces, schools and health care providers as they work together to reduce chronic disease, lower the cost of care and promote a lifetime of health for every Texan through the power of prevention.

Its purpose: to create healthier communities by:

  • Building capacity to implement evidence- and other practice-based policy, environmental, programmatic, and infrastructure changes aligning with Healthy People 2020 focus areas.
  • Supporting implementation of interventions to prevent heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and other leading causes of death or disability.

This grant is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS’s) Community Transformation Grant (CTG)


​Hale County

The Garrison Institute on Aging is working with the Highland Elementary School principal to establish a joint-use agreement to open the school gym for a few days each week during the summer. The gym has been closed to the public during the summer but will open to the Plainview community beginning in July 2012. Highland Elementary will be used as the model school to implement similar programs in other schools throughout Hale County.

Lubbock County

The Healthy Lubbock program of the Garrison Institute on Aging has established a farm-to-work program at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) main campus as part of the Transforming Texas Grant and the employee wellness program. On every other Friday from July 1 to October 31, a local farmer will set up a farmers market specifically for the employees of TTUHSC, who will be able to browse and purchase fresh fruits and vegetables between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. 

North Texas

Hopkins County

Hopkins County Transforming North Texas (TNT) has had the opportunity to coordinate with the AgriLife Extension Office to create and build a community coalition to address the issue of healthy eating and access to quality food. TNT plans to help the Sulphur Springs Farmers Market with their marketing plan to get the word out that local produce is available and for sale.

Hood County

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Azle Community Transformation Grant staff has been successful in partnering with a local Hood County convenience store to become smoke-free. This small community doesn’t have a grocery store, and instead of driving 15 miles to the nearest supermarket, most of the residents use the convenience store to purchase items such as bread and milk. Children frequent the business, and the owners were interested in becoming a smoke-free environment for the health of their employees as well as for the young people being exposed to secondhand smoke.

Lamar County

Lamar County Transforming North Texas (TNT) has had enormous success in building a coalition for the purpose of reducing obesity by increasing physical activity. Great strides have also been made to begin increasing community awareness of the existing trail system in Lamar County. Local city government officials have been informed of the recently awarded Community Transformations Grant (CTG) and are working with city representatives to update the parks and recreation master plan. A video to encourage physical activity on the Trail de Paris in Lamar County is in the works.

Parker County

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital - Azle Community Transformation Grant (CTG) staff educated parents and students on the dangers of secondhand smoke at the Summer Reading Kick-off Carnival in Weatherford. More than 200 students and their parents came to learn in fun, interactive ways. Many were surprised to hear about the 4,000 chemicals found in cigarettes, some of which are also found in rat poison; some discussed family members who smoke; and students learned how to handle situations in which they could be exposed to secondhand smoke by completing a maze “to get away from smoke.” Even parents were surprised to hear about the dangers of smoking in a car. Many believed if the window were down, then it is acceptable to smoke in a car with the children in the back. Parents were given 40-second hourglasses that looked like cigarettes to show that every puff of a cigarette takes 40 seconds off the smoker’s life. Other demonstrations showed the amount of tar left in the lungs after one pack is smoked. Awareness is the first step to preventing exposure to secondhand smoke.

Smith County

Smith County is working with the University of Texas-Tyler School of Nursing to conduct neighborhood food assessments. Eighteen students and two nursing faculty evaluated the availability of farmers markets, grocery stores, restaurants, and convenience stores in order to determine which areas of Tyler are food havens and which are food deserts, where the presence of fresh produce and natural foods needs to be established. The success of the initial assessment will continue with the next group of nursing students, who will continue to perform assessments of the availability of healthy foods in the Bullard community. In the future years of the Community Transformation Grant, the assessment tool(s) will be implemented in all nine of the identified Smith County communities.

Wichita County

Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District (WF-WC PHD) met with the Wichita Falls traffic superintendent to discuss the Safe Routes to School program. As a result, they are holding bike rodeos at two elementary schools, which will be manned by volunteers from a local bike and pedestrian coalition, the Police Department, the City Transportation division, and the WF-WC PHD Community Transformation Grant (CTG) program. The purpose will be to increase physical activity while teaching students bike safety, proper helmet wear, and safe routes. In addition, CTG staff will provide neighborhood maps showing the safe routes to schools for parents and for participating schools for distribution to all students.

Wood County

In Wood County, Northeast Texas Public Health District (NETPHD) has initiated a community needs assessment, in partnership with the Texas Health Institute. The City of Winnsboro has applied for a grant to build a walking trail to connect downtown with the city park area, and the mayor wants to learn more about how to build coalitions in order to begin provide more health education and ideas for healthy living to residents of Winnsboro.

Van Zandt County

With assistance from community partners in Van Zandt County, Northeast Texas Public Health District has used coalition development activities to prepare the community for Transforming Texas efforts. The East Texas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse has provided air and tobacco policy reports for the towns in the county. This groundwork will provide the foundation for future efforts in the second year of the project.

Central Texas

Bastrop County

The Community Health Coalition of Caldwell County is working with community partners in Caldwell County and Bastrop County to duplicate efforts to reduce the occurrence of diabetes-related hospitalizations. The coalition’s Diabetes and Nutrition Education program, led by a registered dietitian, provides no-cost group and individual diabetes education for residents of Caldwell County who are uninsured or underinsured. The office- and home-based program was created to educate and motivate county residents to make behavior and lifestyle changes that can lead to better health. With the addition of a community health worker, the coalition will expand services to Bastrop County, where it will address the issues of obesity, hypertension, and high cholesterol and develop a health education model, which will lead to the creation of a healthier community.

Burnet County

Burnet County is currently building additional capacity for the Highland Lakes Health Partnership, which will allow for comprehensive community assessments to be completed as well as the identification of priorities for healthy lifestyle interventions. The WilCo Wellness Alliance is serving as a model for Burnet County’s infrastructure and potential strategies.

Caldwell County

The Community Health Coalition of Caldwell County is continuing work begun in 2009 to improve the health status of Caldwell County residents and to reduce the occurrence of diabetes-related hospitalizations. The coalition’s Diabetes and Nutrition Education program, lead by a registered dietitian, provides no-cost group and individual diabetes education for residents of Caldwell County who are uninsured and underinsured. The office- and home-based program was created to educate and motivate county residents to make behavior and lifestyle changes that can lead to better health. With the addition of a community health worker, the coalition will expand services to address issues of obesity, hypertension, and high cholesterol as well as develop a health education model, which will lead to the creation of a healthier community.

Comal County

The Institute for Public Health and Education Research (TIPHER) began work in June 2012 to bring together government, business, health, and community leaders to advocate for environmental and policy changes to increase opportunities for physical activity and decrease the exposure to secondhand smoke and use of tobacco products. The group is coordinating a Community Health Summit for September 2012, when downtown streets will be closed to vehicle traffic for four hours, allowing families and individuals to participate in fun fitness opportunities at activity stations that will be set up along the route. Walking maps will be provided to encourage groups to walk or ride their bikes to the local farmers market.

Also, the Caring Community Coalition has been established to implement a tobacco-free campaign to encourage local businesses and restaurants to display their “tobacco-free environment” signs. The coalition is also partnering with the law enforcement community to increase the enforcement of laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco to minors.

Guadalupe County

Community workers with the Institute for Public Health and Education Research Inc. (TIPHER) have been working in Guadalupe County since June 1. Meetings have been held with key leaders of the community to build an active-living coalition to promote physical activity and ultimately reduce the incidence of diabetes. Another effort the Institute has undertaken is the development of a comprehensive plan to recruit, train, and implement a promotora program to educate students and parents in the Seguin I.S.D. to effectively manage their diabetes.

McLennan County

The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District is working with the Live Well Waco project to promote wellness to area residents by teaching them how to make healthier choices at home, work, and play. The Live Well Waco project offers a variety of information through each program sector: Eat Well Waco (healthy dining options guide and restaurant program), Play Well Waco (free physical activity opportunities and school wellness programs), Be Well Waco (chronic disease management and smoking cessation), Work Well Waco (worksite wellness), and Think Well Waco (mental health and spiritual well-being). Activities, information, and resources are provided through community events and a new website due to launch in September 2012. The project is further complemented by a robust media campaign and kick-off event that will coincide with the launch of the Live Well Waco website. Ongoing activities are scheduled to keep the community aware of health messages and available opportunities for making healthy choices.

Williamson County

Williamson County is currently conducting community-wide assessments on healthy lifestyle behaviors and barriers, expanding on the efforts of the WilCo Wellness Alliance. Assessments include tobacco use among adults and children, breastfeeding regulations in health-care facilities, the availability of physical activity opportunities in the community, and current chronic disease self-management education resources in the community. Maintenance of existing initiatives and awareness campaigns continues.

East Texas

Angelina County

Angelina County & Cities Health District (ACCHD) is working with community partners in Angelina and Polk counties to accomplish Transforming Texas initiatives.

ACCHD worked closely with the City of Lufkin to conduct a comprehensive community assessment—completed in May 2012—to inventory walking paths, sidewalks, and physical activity areas for Angelina County. As a result of the increased focus on community physical activity through Transforming Texas actions, a new grass-roots initiative, Active Angelina, is underway to make the promotion of physical activity a priority in our community.

Galveston County

The University of Texas Community Outreach (UTCO) Transforming Texas initiative is working to implement evidence-based environmental and programmatic changes in Galveston and Nueces counties, focusing on tobacco-free living, healthy eating and active living, and high-impact clinical preventive services. UTCO has implemented community-based chronic disease-prevention programs featuring physical activity and healthy eating activities, led by locally recruited community health workers. In Galveston, UTCO is providing two public programs for seniors—Sit and Fit, which focus on low-intensity exercise and healthy eating.

Polk County

Angelina County & Cities Health District (ACCHD) is working with community partners in Angelina and Polk counties to accomplish Transforming Texas initiatives. Capacity building activities have gained momentum in Polk County through an extensive coalition-building process, which is beginning to bear fruit. ACCHD has made several presentations to local community leaders and stakeholders, who are now ready to begin implementation of Transforming Texas strategies in Polk County.

Waller County

Texas Area Health Education Center (AHEC) East Greater Houston Region has trained eight community health worker apprentices (CHWs), who will be receiving full certification. In addition to working toward their certifications, they have been actively participating in the Waller County Alliance for Lifestyle Choices Coalition (WALC), and several now hold leadership positions in WALC. As CHWs they have been active throughout Waller County, building capacity with other organizations and community leaders. All have completed training and are qualified to give public presentations on tobacco-free living, active living, and management of chronic disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. 

South Texas

Cameron County

The Transforming Texas grant in Cameron County team partnered with the City of Brownsville to stage the first in a series of “Better Block” projects in the county seat. With the help of volunteers, the event transformed the heart of downtown into a pedestrian- and bike-friendly place for residents and visitors. The Market Square area was cleaned, benches were painted, umbrellas placed, lights strung from trees, and cafe tables and landscaping were contributed by area businesses. The streets surrounding the square were retrofitted with bike lanes, and kids' activities were stationed throughout the area to entice families and seniors to enjoy a re-prioritized public space. Pop-up shops were created in vacant buildings and included a bike store, clothing boutique, music shop, life-size chess game, and a map/art store. Additional Better Block events are scheduled for the coming months, as are accompanying workshops for surrounding municipalities to join in with the National Complete Streets Coalition to re-prioritize their public spaces.

Jim Wells County

In Jim Wells County, Alice is where most residents live and do business. Migrant Health Promotion (MHP) is working closely with county and local officials to create policy that will lessen the impact of this county’s quick growth as a result of the oil industry. Through Transforming Texas, MHP can hold clean-air seminars and create smoke-free policies that will impact current and future businesses in the area. Furthermore, MHP has contracted with the National Complete Streets Coalition to bring national infrastructure-building workshops to this area to teach community leaders how to make roads, sidewalks, and trails within their counties more accessible to their residents in order to increase physical activity and address health disparities. MHP is currently canvasing medical practices in the area to implement chronic disease self-management programs in order to help those who suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Nueces County

The University of Texas Community Outreach (UTCO) Transforming Texas initiative is working to implement evidence-based environmental and programmatic changes in Galveston and Nueces counties, focusing on tobacco-free living, healthy eating, and active living as well as high-impact clinical preventive services. UTCO has implemented community-based chronic disease-prevention programs featuring physical activity and healthy eating activities led by locally recruited community health workers. In Nueces County, UTCO has implemented Where Food Comes to Life, a healthy-cooking and nutrition program promoting well-balanced and affordable meals.

Starr County

An exemplary coalition is supporting the Transforming Texas grant in Starr County. The multi-disciplined county coalition has over 25 key community leaders including: county commissioners, city officials, health/hospital groups, school leaders, and local fruit and vegetable producers. Coalition support is also being provided by various State AgriLife Extension specialists in the areas of Health, Nutrition, Parks and Recreation, and Agribusiness.

Webb County

We are excited about Transforming Texas (TT) in Webb County. The Webb County Community Coalition of SCAN, Inc. has been meeting with its members each month since March 2012. The Webb County Transforming Texas team lead and a few of the coalition members will be meeting with the mayors and city council members of Rio Bravo and El Cenizo to explain the benefits of a clean-indoor-air initiative. Priority plans were also developed for Comprehensive Clean In-door initiatives, Smoke-free Worksites, and the Implementation Plan for Chronic Disease.

Willacy County

Migrant Health Promotion (MHP), a leader in health-care promotion and advocacy, is currently implementing the Community Transformation Grant (CTG) through the Texas Department of State Health Services (on behalf of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in Willacy and Jim Wells counties. Willacy County's largest pocket of population lies in the City of Raymondville. MHP has teamed up with numerous community stakeholders to begin implementing smoke-free environmental polices as well as to evaluate and create joint-use agreements for promoting physical activity. MPH began chronic disease self-management programs to monitor and treat individuals who suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Furthermore, MHP has contracted with the National Complete Streets Coalition to bring national infrastructure-building workshops to this area. These workshops will teach community leaders how to make roads, sidewalks, and trails in their counties more accessible to their residents in order to increase physical activity and address health disparities.  

West Texas

Culberson County

TASS (Teens Against Secondhand Smoke) youth coalition is an active group of young people that, within two months of working, obtained a proclamation that states, "No more secondhand smoke day in Van Horn," in observance of “World No Tobacco Day” on May 31, 2012.

Hudspeth County

In Hudspeth County, Transforming Texas community health workers are delivering diabetes education to adults living with diabetes. It is a weekly two-hour program that helps adults manage their conditions based on the Diabetes Empowerment Education Program (DEEP) curricula.

Presidio County

Presidio I.S.D. has been working since the Transforming Texas contractor kick-off training in April 2012. Perhaps the most noticeable accomplishment are the radio interviews conducted on both sides of the border. The team started with a very upbeat interview with Marfa Public Radio station KRTS which received excellent reviews from the listeners.

To further our outreach efforts, several members of the team crossed into Ojinaga, Mexico and conducted four separate radio interviews, each with a different station. All of the radio interviewers were impressed by the information provided by the Transforming Texas team—specifically by the amount of money reportedly being spent on treatment of chronic disease treatment each year.