Healthy Williamson County (HWC)
HWC is Williamson County’s health and wellness coalition. Located just north of Austin, HWC aims to empower their community through local health data, resources, and engagement opportunities for community members. Williamson County consistently ranks as a top five county in Texas for health indicators and outcomes.
What factors are essential for effective cross-sector alignment?
- The coalition is comprised of community members and agencies from health care, school, government, business, non-profit, and faith-based organizations. HWC unites diverse partners to work to improve the health of all who live, work, worship, and play in Williamson County.
- The coalition utilizes a collective impact approach.
- Meeting consistently has helped establish and maintain the shared vision and purpose; relationship building being essential to purpose.
- The Healthy Williamson County Executive Leadership Team provides strategic direction for Healthy Williamson County, strengthens relationships across sectors, identifies gaps in the community, and increases collaborative opportunities and resources.
- They have six working groups; each is voluntarily chaired by a community member. Paid staff are supported by the backbone organization Williamson County and Cities Health District.
- The lack of a shared funding stream makes it easier to govern because there is no decision-making around money.
- Every three years, the coalition completes a community health assessment to identify top 5 priorities for coalitions and develop measures for progress.
- Healthy Williamson County website provides unbiased data, local resources, and information in one, accessible, user-friendly location.
- Sharing data has been difficult because there are no mutual systems or MOUs.
Finance and Sustainability
- A grant helped establish the coalition. No shared funding source for the coalition means the staff is “very lean.”
- The coalition is funded by the health district, which gives it some stability.
- The website and data platform is sponsored by Bluebonnet Trails Community Services, Georgetown Health Foundation, Baylor Scott & White Healthcare, United Way of Williamson County, and Williamson County and Cities Health District.
Integration of Health Equity
- Transcends all of the coalitions’ priorities, but no explicit definition of health equity
- Establishes health equity zones using indicators of disparities for need
Community Trust and Accountability
- Has a strong coalition coordinator who engages the community and partners and conducts community meetings to overcome a history of distrust
- Decides top priorities together with coalition members to think of accountability to the community
- Uses their website to publish data and updates
Measures of Success
- Short-term and long-term measures from the Community Health Improvement Plan
- Information sharing by members during meetings about services provided
- Published some info and data on website
- At the meeting, networking, and collaboration phase, at time of analysis