2016 Summit Recap: Uniting for a Healthier Texas
On August 1st and 2nd, hundreds of Texans from all sectors and backgrounds, representing all corners of our vast state, gathered at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in the great city of San Antonio. Leaders from Texas’ largest corporations and healthcare providers, K-12 educators, employees at health-related agencies and community organizations, fitness instructors, nutritionists and dietitians, professors and their students, doctors, researchers, and small business owners filled the Hemisfair Ballroom Monday morning fueled by a shared aim: to make it easier for Texans to lead healthy lives.
IT’S TIME TEXAS Board Member and Former Texas Comptroller Susan Combs kicked off the event with a powerful keynote speech that reminded us all why we need to work even harder, faster, stronger, and most importantly, together, to make living a healthy lifestyle and raising a healthy family more attainable for all Texans. “For many Texans,” Susan shared, “health is simply not part of their daily lives… 27.3% of all Texans are not participating in any kind of physical activity. 17.5% [of adults] and 27% of kids lack access to sufficient, good food to live a healthy lifestyle. Even in our schools, fewer than half of our high schoolers are getting the recommended amount of physical activity and one-third of them are drinking soda every day. Every one of us has to care. Every single one of us has to care about this. It affects everybody.”
Susan then announced IT’S TIME TEXAS’ brand new public-private collaboration with the UT System, Healthier Texas. Together, we plan to combine our respective strengths and areas of expertise to rapidly reduce the burden of preventable chronic disease in Texas. We look forward to sharing more details about the Healthier Texas collaboration with all of you in the coming months.
Throughout Monday and Tuesday, Summit participants attended sessions across five different audience tracks, interacted with health-related exhibitors, participated in a Q&A with San Antonio Mayor Ivy R. Taylor, and many joined the symposium and white paper discussion on Tuesday morning. Among the major themes that permeated this year’s event were the power of partnership (particularly with seemingly unconventional partners) to advance a community’s health, the importance of crafting simple and targeted health messages to influence healthy behavior change, and the value of collecting both quantitative data and memorable success stories to make the case for prioritizing health to school leaders, employers, and policymakers.
In the Building a Culture of Health in Texas Symposium on Tuesday, Dr. Kim Wilson discussed the findings of our new white paper (which is free to download along with six supplemental case studies,) and posed questions that aligned with her research to an impressive group of leaders representing the workplace, healthcare, K-12 education, academia, and community sectors. If you missed the symposium or would like to revisit the discussion, you can watch it in two parts thanks to our friends at the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living! Presentation slides from Summit sessions can be found here, and be sure to check out the Facebook photo album.
This year’s event was by far our most impactful to date, and it was an honor to take the Summit on the road to San Antonio, a city that is truly creating a culture of health for its residents and leaving its old reputation as one of the state’s most unhealthy metros in the dust.
If you attended the Summit, please complete this evaluation at your earliest convenience. Your feedback will be instrumental in shaping next year’s first-ever Healthier Texas Summit in 2017! Regardless of whether you were able to attend this year, we hope you will join our statewide conversation via social media using the hashtag #HealthierTexas. We encourage you to share stats and information, helpful health resources, responses to our new white paper, success stories, questions, and ideas for fellow Texas health champions to respond to. We plan to continue hosting #HealthierTexas Tweetchats regularly and are always open to suggestions that will help us all converse and collaborate year-round. We still can’t believe the energy we witnessed at this year’s Summit, and we thank all of you for taking the time to join us, and for the crucial work you do.