COH began as an informal collaborative looking to improve the health and well-being of children in central Texas by working across organizational institutions. Eighty-four agencies came together and identified four areas of focus: linking and leveraging our existing resources; coordinating community messaging and education; using technology; and research and best practices to solve community problems.

In early 2008, thirteen lead community agencies and institutions organized as the Charter Members of Children‘s Optimal Health (COH) and formed a Texas Unincorporated Non-Profit Association (TUNA). Five of the Charter Member organizations committed to the initial funding of COH, while others committed data, time, and their knowledge surrounding the central Texas community. By May, COH had formed a Governing Board and filed for 501(c)3 status. These Board members reflected the diverse organizations that impact a child‘s life; healthcare, housing, education, economic development, and agencies addressing social and emotional development. This variety in Board representation continues to allow COH to look at a broader definition of health that includes educational factors as well as the social determinants that play a valuable role in shaping outcomes for children.

COH Timeline


  • Over 80 agencies attended the first COH summit held to address the need of optimizing children‘s health in Central Texas, Summit held June 2006. This resulted in four task forces were formed to look at:
    • How we link and leverage existing resources
    • How we best use technology
    • How we better use research and best practice to improve outcomes
    • How we can coordinate outreach and education
  • COH holds its second COH community summit, adopting task force goals and objectives, Summit held November 2006


  • COH holds the third COH community summit, where the task force reported on their work and successes, Summit held August 2007:
    • Link and Leverage – pulled together partners to assist in the development of a child and youth mental health conference
    • Research and Development – researched community initiatives across the country and key outcomes in child and youth development
    • Outreach and Education – established a community calendar of all the awareness campaigns and worked with Milkshake Media to create a brand for Children’s Optimal Health
    • Technology – presented GIS mapping and its use in identifying community hotspots


  • COH filed as a Texas Unincorporated Non-Profit Association
  • March: COH Governing Board formed
  • May: COH filed for its 501(c)3 status with the IRS
  • June: Funding for COH begins


  • COH holds its fourth COH community summit and presents the first COH mapping initiatives, Summit held February 2009
  • COH completes its first project Child Obesity by Neighborhood and Middle School in Austin ISD for school year 2007-2008 and presents it at the fifth COH community summit, Summit held November 2009


  • Access to Healthcare, 2008
  • Young Children Volume I, By Physical and Social Environment
  • Austin ISD Child Obesity, by Neighborhood and Middle School 2009-2010
  • COH was published in Health Affairs for the obesity mapping project, March 2010


  • Academic Success, Absenteeism, and Fitness Survey of AISD Students per HACA Facility
  • Transportation Related Child Injury, 2007-2009
  • Child and Youth Behavioral Health, 2009-2010
  • Young Children Volume II, United Way Capital Area Success by 6 Partnership
  • Central Texas Afterschool Network, Partners in Improving Child Well-being


  • Transportation Related Child Injury Summit held March 2012
  • Hays CISD Child Obesity Project, 2010-2011, Summit held May 2012
  • Manor ISD Child Obesity Project, 2010-2011


  • Manor ISD Child Obesity Summit held May 2013
  • Student Attendance Study in partnership with E3 Alliance, 2013, Summit held June 2013
  • Behavioral Health: Youth Substance Abuse project, 2010, summit held October 2013
  • Supported the creation of the Travis County Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition
  • Birth Outcomes Project, 2007-2010, Summit held November 2013


  • Del Valle ISD Child Obesity Project, 2012-2013, Summit held January 2014
  • Transportation-Related Child Injury Project II, 2010-2012, Summit held March 2014
  • Child Health Maps with Austin City Council Boundary Overlays Project, August 2014


  • Pflugerville ISD Child Obesity Project, 2012-2013, Community Events held September 2015
  • Round Rock ISD Child Obesity Project, 2012-2013, Summit held September 2015
  • Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Summit held November 2015


  • Child Maltreatment Study, 2004-2012, Summit held July 2016
  • Housing + Health Summit to be held November 2016