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Galveston County Health District - Providing Credible Service since 1971


9850-A Emmett F. Lowry Expy, Suite A108, Texas City Texas 77591 - Phone - 409-938-7221

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P.O. Box 939
La Marque, TX 77568

Strategic Plan header Picture Phone: 409-938-2401

Executive Summary

Galveston County has a long history of community collaborations to address health issues and disasters. The Health District, itself, is formed out of a collaborative agreement between the county and thirteen (13) member cities. Throughout the years, community partnerships have aided in planning and responding to health challenges of the day.

In the latter part of 2002, the state health department developed state health priorities
(Appendix 1: Texas Department of Health Mission, Philosophy and Priorities) and described current and future health challenges in Texas. In January 2003, the Galveston County Health District began to organize and secure resources to make health planning an ongoing activity in the county. Given limitations in healthcare financing and emerging community health initiatives (i.e., homeland security), the Health District engaged in a strategic health planning process to develop unified goals among its local health partners and to guide the allocation of finite public resources. Strategic health planning would also address a JCAHO recommendation to develop integrated District-wide criteria to guide organizational planning.

In early May, a team of Health District employees began planning for the first-ever “retreat” to set priorities within the District. A decision was made to invite a representative member of the United Board of Health and the 4C’s Governing Board. After the invitation was made, the response was enthusiastic. A total of ten board members attended the retreat. Mr. John Zendt, Chair, United Board of Health, secured meeting space for the retreat at Moody Gardens in Galveston. On May 16th, employees and Board members gathered for this important first step.

In order to stimulate the brainstorming process, a brief presentation (Appendix 2: Strategic Health Planning Presentation) outlined major functions of the District and current topics in the world of public health. Participants were asked to draw a “picture of health” and to identify as many priority health issues as possible. Written on notecards, the issues and ideas literally filled the entire space when taped to the walls. District facilitators compiled the issues and ideas into common themes. The common themes were then ranked and synthesized into priority statements. As the result of this first step in strategic health planning, a "Draft List of Health Priorities" (Appendix 3: Draft Priorities) was created out of the positive energy, ideas, and knowledge of the participants.

The eight priorities address the following themes: (1) Public Awareness; (2) Access to Care and Health Disparities; (3) Business Improvement; (4) Healthcare Financing; (5) Management of Chronic Conditions; (6) Environmental Health Improvement; (7) Senior Health Improvement; (8) and Prevention through Immunizations. In order to assess community perspectives and to formulate organizational goals to address each priority, the Health District conducted an extensive community review and comment period over the next five (5) months.

Staff attended a variety of community forums including presentations, employee town hall meetings, many internal staff meetings, focused summits on immunization and environmental health, and many other formal and informal gatherings. On July 15th, an Immunization Summit was held with community leaders. Commissioner Stephen Holmes provided opening remarks at this meeting where strategies, goals, and objectives were developed to "immunize children and adults to prevent infectious diseases." On September 11th, an Environmental Health Summit was attended by a diverse group of community participants representing the food service industry, business owners, city officials, state officials, District managers, and Board members. Commissioner Ken Clark provided opening remarks at this facilitated discussion where participants commented on how to improve environmental health services.

The health priorities and planning process were featured in local newspapers and posted on the District's website for public comment. Additionally, Health District staff made personal visits to key health partners, hospitals, community-based organizations, and all local member governments. In June 2003, the health priorities were shared with county officials during a workshop session of the Galveston County Commissioners’ Court. Between July and October, meetings were held with officials in each of the following member governments of the Health District:

The Village of Bayou Vista The City of Jamaica Beach Village
The City of Clear Lake Shores The City of Kemah
The City of Dickinson The City of La Marque
The City of Friendswood The City of League City
The City of Galveston The City of Santa Fe
The County of Galveston The City of Texas City
The City of Hitchcock   The Village of Tiki Island
In October, District staff presented the final draft Strategic Health Plan to the members of the United Board of Health and the 4C’s Governing Board for their final review. The Strategic Health Plan was subsequently adopted by both of its boards in November 2003 to become effective in January 2004.

As a culmination of six months of extensive planning involving hundreds of health partners in the community, I am pleased to present a plan for health improvements in Galveston County by the year 2010. Developing an effective health plan would not have been possible without the overwhelming support of members of both of the Health District’s Boards, county and city local elected officials, UTMB, Mainland Center Hospital, business owners, industry representatives, faith-based representatives, community-based organizations, health professions, school representatives, and many, many others. (Appendix 4: Acknowledgements). I am most proud of the coordinated, behind-the-scenes work of many Health District employees who supported this important effort every step of the way.

Now it is time to implement these health improvements in Galveston County. Together with our partners, we can make a measurable difference in the health of Galveston County residents!

Harlan “Mark” Guidry, MD, MPH
Chief Executive Officer