Launched in 2009 in the greater Cincinnati area, GE healthymagination’s Healthy Cities Program brings together city leaders, local employers, providers, payers and civic organizations to establish regionwide treatment standards, encourage more efficient information exchange, and improve health and wellness education among those battling chronic diseases.

A study released in 2013 on the progress to date showed that the program had helped create more than 100 new primary care medical homes, resulted in fewer emergency room visits, and increased the percentage of the “high-risk” pediatric asthma population that was rated “well controlled” by physicians and parents from 29% to nearly 76%. Building on this success, GE expanded the program to Louisville, Kentucky, and Erie, Pennsylvania, in 2012.

In 2013, GE, the Clinton Health Matters Initiative (CHMI), Houston Mayor Annise Parker and several partners announced the expansion of the initiative to the greater Houston area. The partnership is working to provide better health for more people by advancing community health, closing gaps in health disparities, and encouraging community members to lead healthier lives. It aims to be the largest coordinated community health improvement effort in the city’s history.

Since 2015, the Houston Leadership Council, which is made up of 40 Houston and Harris County leaders and decision-makers, has started to focus on three key areas of the Houston and Harris County Blueprint for Health. The council has established three working groups:

  1. Healthy Eating – Focused on providing all Harris County residents with access to fresh, nutritious and high-quality food
  2. Health Care and Social Services –­ Focused on increasing access to coordinated and comprehensive healthcare services to support quality-of-life improvements among community residents
  3. Built Environment –­ Focused on ensuring that Houston and Harris County will be viewed as among the world’s greatest places to live, work and succeed.

These working groups will be focused on the deliverables that are highlighted in these three areas in the Houston and Harris County Blueprint for Action. The Leadership Council will be initiating projects and programs in 2016 focusing on health information technology, health care delivery, obesity, healthy eating and built environment improvements.