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Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the purpose of Children’s Optimal Health?

The purpose of Children’s Optimal Health (COH) is to enable communities across central Texas to visualize the health of their neighborhoods, identify assets and needs, unearth and nurture opportunities for collaborative change, and monitor outcomes over time through GIS mapping and related analysis. COH was formed in 2008 after thirteen organizational leaders across health, education and social service sectors came together as the Charter Members of Children’s Optimal Health. These founders were often competitors for business and funding, but all recognized that the safe sharing of data for the benefit of all could have a profound, positive impact on effective, efficient and just services. They created COH to be a trusted independent third party that could negotiate data sharing and provide data security and analysis to inform decision makers.

What population does Children’s Optimal Health serve?

Children’s Optimal Health (COH) does not provide direct services. Rather, we provide data analytics, data visualization, and mapping analysis to the entities that provide direct service and those that make policy and resource allocation decisions in Central Texas. Our work is used in grant-writing efforts by neighborhood groups and non-profits to depict and give voice to their communities. COH uses HIPAA and FERPA-protected data in studies that impact policy, inform operational effectiveness, encourage research, assess program effectiveness, and facilitate cross-sector collaboration. COH is a valued community asset to our partners including multiple school districts, Managed Care Organizations, multiple social service and mental health collaborations and providers; as well as philanthropic funders and governmental entities. Our work enables service providers to deliver more efficient, better targeted, and more strongly linked services to the ultimate beneficiaries of the work we perform: children, youth, and families.

How is Children’s Optimal Health funded?

The funding that allows Children’s Optimal Health (COH) to continue its work in support of service providers is Board Membership. Because COH does not provide direct service, (a critical component of most non-profit organizations) the Board’s ownership of our mission is of critical importance to COH and to all of those served by our partners. The following organizations provide a yearly contribution, both monetary and in-kind, to the infrastructure funding of COH:

      • Ascension/Seton
      • Central Health
      • City of Austin
      • H-E-B
      • St. David’s Foundation
      • Superior Health Plans
      • Travis County
      • UT Austin Dell Medical School

COH also provides fee-for-service work through individual organization contracts and participates in grant-funded partnerships with like-minded cross-sector organizations.

What does Children’s Optimal Health produce?

Children’s Optimal Health (COH) is known for our work with GIS mapping and data analysis, which we have utilized to produce numerous maps, reports, and interactive applications. As an organization, we emphasize collaborative research efforts, which has led to our frequent participation in IRB-approved studies with universities. Most of our work goes through a Scientific Advisory Board before being finalized and presented to our community and action partners. Often our maps, reports, and other products are shared through community summits where experts and advocates can come together to find solutions to issues through policy and environmental changes. Our work also includes supporting funding requests through research, grant proposals, strategic planning, policy changes, program and community health assessment, and other endeavors. Additionally, COH is instrumental in coalition building and partnership development.

What are the projects that Children’s Optimal Health is currently working on?

At any given point in time, Children’s Optimal Health is engaged in several projects. To view a list of some of our current and recent projects, visit our Projects page. You can also check out our blog, which features project reviews and updates on our partnerships and collaborations.

Where can I find copies of maps and reports that Children’s Optimal Health has produced?

A selection of our maps and reports can be viewed and downloaded for free on our Maps and Reports page. Additional community resources can be found on our Resources page.

Are all of Children’s Optimal Health’s maps publicly available?

Whether or not our work is made public depends upon our data use agreements and conditions outlined in our Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved studies. When we are able to publish our work, it is made publicly available on our Maps and Reports page.

I am a researcher (or organization) interested in partnering with Children’s Optimal Health on a project. What are the initial steps that I need to take?

We are glad to hear that you, your foundation, business, or organization has an interest in better understanding community health and social contributors to health. If you want to target your resources or interventions in the most efficient and effective way possible, Children’s Optimal Health can be the catalyst for you to understand what you need to know. To reach out to us, please use our contact form or email us at info@cohtx.org.

Do you have an additional question that is not answered here? Please use our contact form to ask us!