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​Community-Driven Initiatives

Two women gardening.

Community-Driven Initiatives is a program of the Department of Population Health that seeks to support and implement health solutions proposed by and for residents of Austin and Central Texas communities. Led by Carmen Valdez, Ph.D., the team advances ideas by fostering partnerships, advising on areas of opportunity, promoting leadership development and much more.

Community-Driven Initiatives conducts all of its work with an eye toward community servanthood. Contact the team at or 512-495-5155.

Focus Areas

To support the best ideas for improving community health, the team focuses on the following.

  • Identifying persons in Austin, Travis County and Central Texas who have ideas to improve the health of their communities and neighborhoods. Since the places individuals live and work in influence health, who best to enhance the health of a community than those who live and work there?
  • Addressing systemic challenges rooted in unfair economic policies, discrimination and other social determinants of health that drive health inequities. The team’s aim is to implement local solutions and scale those that improve the health of surrounding communities.
  • Identifying and supporting exceptional people and ideas that may otherwise not have a source for support, ensuring their community impact and sustainability. Change and political will require empathy and solidarity, and to achieve those two conditions, the team works to connect the people most impacted with resources sufficient to fully test new and exciting ideas.