United Way of Tarrant County’s Area Agency on Aging announced it received a $525,000 grant from Texas Health Resources for a new initiative – Project Empower – which will expand current work in the 76010, 76011 (Arlington) and 76082 Parker County) ZIP codes to address underlying issues of health disparities in people over age 18.
The Area Agency on Aging is partnering with six other agencies for Project Empower, which is designed to encourage 1,200 residents to take steps to alleviate depression and anxiety, consume healthy food, improve self-efficacy and overcome barriers of access with technology. The initiative runs through Dec. 31, 2022.
“Often people who live in these areas have experienced multiple adverse childhood experiences, traumatic events during childhood, like abuse, neglect or household dysfunction,” said Don Smith, executive director of the Area Agency on Aging and Vice President of Community Investment for United Way of Tarrant County. “Current research connects these childhood experiences with social determinants of health, like home and community environments, quality of education, safety of neighborhoods, and access to transportation and healthcare. Ongoing health conditions as an adult are correlated with experiencing these through childhood.”
Project Empower partners will provide innovative referral and asset mapping to leverage programs that improve access to healthy food, behavioral health and self-efficacy support. Highlighted programs will include: Gardens On the Go, urban farms, meal and produce delivery, healthy food maps and culturally relevant nutrition education, navigation, information and referral, case management, counseling, therapy and programs for substance-use disorder and trauma.
Other community partners involved are:
- United Way of Tarrant County
- Aging and Disability Resource Center of Tarrant County
- North Central Texas Council of Governments
- My Health My Resources
- Meals On Wheels, Inc. of Tarrant County
- Healthy Tarrant County Collaboration
- Tarrant Area Food Bank
- Recovery Resource Center
Innovations for this project will include food pantry locations, virtual and tele-services, screening and cross-partner referrals for food and behavioral health services. Additional community partners will serve on the task forces to augment and further expand services.
In 2018, Texas Health Resources launched Texas Health Community Impact to reframe how Texas Health engages with the communities they serve by:
- Leveraging existing partners
- Addressing social determinants of health
- Using data to drive community health improvement at the local level
Through existing data from Texas Health’s Community Health Needs Assessment, Texas Health Resources identified a key set of priorities to be addressed locally and based on the priorities in relation to social determinants of health and their impact on health outcomes. In Tarrant and Parker Counties, the goal is to maximize the impact of programs addressing behavioral health and social determinants of health in the target communities.