Children’s Optimal Health (COH), a 501(c)(3) based in Austin, TX, is a collective leadership initiative that unites the efforts of Central Texas organizations in promoting community change to help our children reach a brighter future. COH strives to give agencies and communities access to proprietary data by using GIS mapping to illuminate issues involving Central Texas children. By layering data from multiple sources, COH can help communities visualize the health of their neighborhoods, identify assets and needs, and unearth opportunities for collaborative change.
The COH Story
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 2008, 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.
Over the last ten years, COH has informed the Central Texas Area through GIS mapping and analyses successfully fulfilling its role in:
- Improving operations,
- Impacting policy,
- Encouraging research, and
- Mobilizing the Community.
A sampling of the projects and reports over the years include:
Obesity and Cardiovascular Fitness
- Austin Independent School District, 2009-2018
- Hays Consolidated Independent School District, 2012, 2018
- Manor Independent School District, 2013
- Del Valle Independent School District, 2014
- Pflugerville Independent School District, 2015
- Round Rock Independent School District, 2015
- Transportation Related Child Injury, 2012
- Transportation Related Child Injury II, 2014
- Child Maltreatment, 2016
Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse
- Child and Youth Behavioral Health, 2011
- Behavioral Health: Youth Substance Abuse, 2013
- Youth Substance Abuse Prevention, 2016
- Birth Outcomes, 2013
- Young Children by Physical and Social Environment, 2010
- Young Children, Volume II in partnership with United Way, 2011
- Central Texas Afterschool Network, 2011
Health, Well-Being and Educational Success
- Academic Success, Absenteeism, and Fitness Survey of AISD Students per HACA Facility, 2011
- Child Health Maps with Austin City Council Boundary Overlays Project, 2014
- Student Attendance Study in partnership with E3 Alliance, 2013
- Housing and Health in partnership with HousingWorks, 2016