UT System and IT’S TIME TEXAS announce first-of-its kind collaboration

AUSTIN— The University of Texas System and IT’S TIME TEXAS have formed a first-of-its kind collaboration to pair research with innovative technologies to transform the health of Texans.

Chronic disease is the leading cause of death in Texas and the majority of these deaths are preventable, said David Lakey, M.D., chief medical officer and associate vice chancellor for population health at the UT System.

The UT System and IT’S TIME TEXAS, a statewide, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health and wellness in Texas communities, are joining forces to launch “Healthier Texas,” an initiative that will address obesity, nutrition, physical fitness and tobacco use.

While other intervention-focused population health programs and health-oriented nonprofits address a small set of causes of chronic disease or a single population, Healthier Texas is the first statewide effort that works across sectors to deliver scalable, sustainable solutions that will make living healthier the norm in Texas communities.

“For true change to happen, you have to attend to every stage of the quality improvement cycle,” said Lakey. “You have to use research to identify the evidence-based practices that have the best chance of improving wellness. You develop programs, and find the right partners, to embed these practices in the community, evaluating and improving these programs as you go. Finally, you scale up the programs that work best.”

The collaboration between the UT System and IT’S TIME TEXAS was announced Monday morning in San Antonio at the ITT Summit, a two-day gathering of health care change-makers from throughout the state.  Healthier Texas will integrate students in all aspects of their projects to develop the next generation of health leaders.

“Through Healthier Texas, we will combine our respective strengths and areas of expertise in order to rapidly reduce the burden of preventable chronic disease in Texas,” said Baker Harrell, Ph.D., president and CEO of IT’S TIME TEXAS. “Our groundbreaking collaboration will translate the latest science into resources and services that empower all Texans to lead healthier lives and build healthier communities."

The UT System and IT’S TIME TEXAS plan to announce the details of the Healthier Texas collaboration this fall.

About The University of Texas System
Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking basic, applied and clinical research, and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. With 14 institutions and an enrollment of more than 221,000, the UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates almost two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public institutions in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $16.9 billion (FY 2016) including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With more than 20,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates – and nearly 80,000 health care professionals, researchers, student advisors and support staff, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

IT’S TIME TEXAS is a statewide organization focused on dramatically improving the landscape of health and wellness in Texas. By using innovative social marketing and new media platforms to deliver health education and promotion programs, leveraging technology to deliver scalable, sustainable solutions, and working together with partners and allies across sectors to harness their collective impact, IT’S TIME TEXAS is empowering Texans to lead healthier lives and build healthier communities.