Bringing Municipalities Together to Build a Healthier Landscape & Improve Health Equity

Bringing Municipalities Together

Fostering a culture of health requires a shift in collective consciousness that can only be achieved through collective impact. Uniting communities around wellness will not only promote positive health outcomes, but also encourage initiatives for regional success. In the Texas Rio Grande Valley, families struggle with some of the highest rates of poverty, chronic disease, and related mortality that exceed those in most other regions of the state and the nation. It is also a vibrant border region, with a bicultural tapestry that weaves together the traditions, history, language, and food of both Mexico and Texas in an attractive Gulf coast setting, unique natural resources, and semi-tropical climate that draws visitors from the north and the south.

Recognizing this dichotomy, the community-wide campaign, Tu Salud Si Cuenta, is a health promotion and behavioral science-based program focused on empowering low-income, uninsured individuals to achieve their healthy lifestyle goals. By subcontracting municipalities to implement this model for community wellness, we create a network of stakeholders engaged in promoting healthy lifestyles while reducing chronic illness. Participants will learn how municipal partnerships can lead to initiatives that improve health outcomes, link communities, generate new economic opportunities, diversify the local tourism market, and build a unified effort to achieve overall wellness.

Amande DavéAmanda Davé is the Program Manager of UTHealth School of Public Health-Brownsville’s Community-Wide Campaign, Tu Salud Si Cuenta, a chronic disease prevention program that partners with cities and precincts throughout Cameron and Hidalgo Counties to address physical activity, fruit and vegetable intake, and environmental infrastructure change around health. Amanda graduated from Trinity University with a B.S. in Neuroscience and International Studies in 2008, and received her Master in Public Health in 2011 from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston-School of Public Health. Her work has focused on addressing health disparities in vulnerable populations, including infectious diseases across the world. She now addresses obesity-related chronic diseases in the RGV.

A native Houstonian, Amanda moved to Brownsville in 2015 to work for UTHealth and has embraced the beauty and intricacies of the Rio Grande Valley. In addition to her professional duties, Amanda is a certified yoga instructor. She is dedicated to helping communities thrive in a united effort focused on the health and wellness of each individual that builds a community. In addition to her work, Amanda is a member of the Brownsville Beautification Committee and a Leadership Brownsville Alumni. Amanda is a certified yoga teacher, teaching in a yoga studio as well as community-based classes to support local business, non-profits, and events.

Alma Ochoa-Del ToroAlma Ochoa-Del Toro obtained a B.S. in Public Health from Rutgers University in 2012 and an MPH in Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences from the UTHealth School of Public Health-Austin in 2015. Alma recently returned to her home of the Rio Grande Valley to bring her experience to the community where she grew up. She currently works as a Research Coordinator for the Community-Wide Campaign known as Tu Salud ¡Si Cuenta! at the UTHealth School of Public Health, where she is also a student in the Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences DrPH program. Alma is an active Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and is currently serving as President-Elect for the Texas Society for Public Health Education. Alma is President-Elect for the Texas Society for Public Health Education, and enjoys reading in her spare time.

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