Strengthening alliances with Texas Association of City and County Health Officials

The Texas Association of City and County Health Officials recently held its 2024 public health conference in Houston. The conference was designed to improve state and local health department practices for planning and implementation of public health programs, policies and system changes through the use of data, health equity, community partnerships and a strong public health workforce, all toward improving community health.

Taccho Presentationn Houston1
Dr. Matt Richardson, Dr. Shafik Dharamsi and Dr. Shawn Gibbs

The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s School of Public Health dean, Dr. Shafik Dharamsi, was invited to address the conference on the importance of fostering effective partnerships between academic institutions and health departments. His presentation focused on bridging the gap between public health education and practice to improve health outcomes. He outlined the SPH vision, mission and new strategic plan, “Impact 2030, Commitment to Community,” underscoring the significance of robust partnerships with the community and local public health departments. These partnerships, he emphasized, are vital for collaboratively developing solutions that create healthier communities and establish stronger health systems.

The dean, along with SPH Master of Health Administration program director, Dr. Catherine Sembajwe-Reeves, was invited to the event by SPH alumnus and director of Denton County Public Health, Dr. Matt Richardson. Richardson is the current TACCHO president.

Taccho Alumni Friends Networking
SPH alumni and friends networking in Houston

Sessions throughout the conference focused on raising awareness of public health determinants, outlining core concepts in public health infrastructure, and sharpening attendees’ skills in planning, implementing and evaluating public health initiatives. Representatives from various public health departments across the state attended the event.

Approximately 400 guests attended Dharamsi’s presentation. Joining him on the podium was Dr. Shawn Gibbs, dean of the School of Public Health at Texas A&M University. A question-and-answer session followed their discussion.

The School of Public Health also hosted an alumni and friends luncheon during the conference weekend, to network and discuss opportunities for partnerships and community engagement across the different Texas regions.

“Connecting with our alumni was an important part of conference, as was the chance to meet so many TACCHO members in our joint quest to build healthier communities across our state,” Dharamsi said. “We look forward to future connections and working together to build a healthier Texas.”

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