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Community-Driven Initiatives Call for Ideas

Often, the best ideas for improving health in a community come from those who live and work there. Dell Medical School’s Community-Driven Initiatives supports these.

By leveraging the resources of The University of Texas at Austin and the surrounding community, leaders of projects identified by Community-Driven Initiatives’ periodic Call for Ideas work with the team to develop plans for implementation, opportunities partnership and funding, and strategies for sustainability, moving ideas from concept to reality.

Project Examples

Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center and the Travis Audubon Society are partnering to revitalize Blair Woods Sanctuary, a 10-acre nature sanctuary in East Austin. This collaborative effort will create educational programming and activities for local students and families to encourage kids to get outside, which helps improve both physical and mental health.

The Texas Black Women’s Initiative is pursuing a new health education intervention, K.I.S.S. & TELL, which aims to improve the sexual health and wellness of black women through nontraditional engagement strategies such as watch parties for popular television shows and movies which include sessions that address the rapidly changing landscape of popular culture while highlighting the importance of HIV prevention. Community-Driven Initiatives in collaboration with the Steve Hicks School of Social Work, is conducting the formative research needed to develop the content and shape of the intervention.

The Peer Mentored Adolescent Mental Health Program is a pilot project to connect high-school students from Eastside Memorial with near peers at The University of Texas at Austin, allowing teens to gain resilience skills and build relationships centered around mental health.

Austin Dental Cares, a mobile dental company that provides care in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, knows that many seniors are unable to pay for oral health care services. Working with Community-Driven Initiatives, Austin Dental Cares is creating a nonprofit that will build ways to provide elderly patients access to routine and emergency dental care.

Every idea submitted is reviewed by the Community Strategy Team and a dedicated Project Development Team and receives feedback, and a handful from each cycle receive robust support.

Eligibility & Selection Criteria

Ideas may be submitted by:

  • Individual residents of Central Texas, including Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Williamson counties. (Employees of The University of Texas at Austin are not eligible.)
  • Members of organizations with a history of engaging in activities to increase community health of the above-listed counties.

Priority will be given to ideas originating in traditionally underserved groups and areas, as described in the application form.

Projects will be scored based on how well they:

  • Address an unmet need;
  • Target communities most impacted by health inequities;
  • Address or mitigate the risk for displacement and gentrification;
  • Advance “planning to stay,” the positive opposite of gentrification;
  • Improve, address or counter risk factors associated with social determinants of health, including economic factors;
  • Are able to be implemented and assessed in 12 months or less; and
  • Offer significant potential for health impact.

Ideas in Action

By the Numbers

No. of ideas submitted to date
Percent of ideas submitted by an individual
Most mentioned ZIP code