Welcome to the Office of Policy and Planning!
It is an awesome privilege to work in the field of public health, a profession that I absolutely love. An incredible wealth of information is at my fingertips, constantly challenging me to stretch my imagination and to think hard about how the health potential of communities, neighborhoods, and families can more fully be achieved. Interestingly enough, public health seeps into my personal life – from decisions about my child’s safety seat to whom I vote for in an election. Health and well-being for individuals and communities is on the forefront of my mind.
I credit this influence to the Harris County Public Health (HCPH) Office of Policy and Planning (OPP). Since 2005, I’ve enjoyed working in the office at a strategic level on various complex and evolving public health issues across the department ranging from emergency preparedness to childhood obesity. OPP relies on the best evidence available to lead and guide comprehensive planning efforts that result in actionable strategies for improving and protecting the health of Harris County residents.
These efforts are grounded in health data and the voices of residents and other stakeholders. As part of OPP’s assessment role, we regularly take a snapshot of the health landscape to identify and prioritize needs in Harris County, realize untapped or underutilized community assets and work with partners to bring about change that will produce health benefits for all residents. As actions are being performed, HCPH wants to know what works and what is not working, so OPP maintains a department-wide evaluation framework to support ongoing monitoring of programmatic outcomes and quality improvement.
Policy is often an effective vehicle for speeding up progress and achieving the gains in health we want to achieve across millions of residents in Harris County. As the Office Director, I serve as the department’s legislative liaison and therefore work on various policy initiatives – legislative, regulatory or voluntary – at local, state and national levels.
I am fortunate to work alongside colleagues who inspire me to do better when I watch how they work tirelessly on improving conditions in our day-to-day environments to make good health achievable for all, regardless of one’s income, level of education or life circumstances. It is equally inspiring to see residents from all walks of life grant us access into their communities and get excited about the possibilities for better health and quality of life. Each day, I am reminded that public health REALLY…TRULY matters.
For more information about the Office of Policy and Planning, please call (713) 439-6000.