See to Succeed

The See to Succeed initiative aims to improve vision and vision related health, education and social factors by performing annual vision exams and providing eyewear.

It is modeled after the City's five-year partnership with the Luxottica Group Foundation's One Sight program which collaborates with area public school districts and charter/private schools to provide high volume walk-through services in community-based settings.

Poor vision can affect a child’s emotional, neurological and physical development. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average lifetime cost of vision impairment is about $566,000 per person. It is important to catch vision problems early on and put in place preventative measures that will allow children the opportunity to see clearly.

The See to Succeed program was piloted in 2011 and since then the vision clinics have seen over 20,000 Houston-area students and have given over 18,000 pairs of glasses. Just one two week outreach event provides eye screening and glasses to over 3,000 students. The Foundation along with HDHHS is moving forward wtih a strategic partnership to reach a target of 10,000 children annually.

Our partners include the Houston Department of Health and Human Services, University of Houston, San Jacinto College, Berkeley Eye Center, public and private schools, as well as community volunteers from all over the Houston Area. Together we are moving forward with a strategic partnership to lead efforts to establish and maintain a standing site for vision care that will expand to reach thousands of children and vulnerable populations.

Project Saving Smiles

Project Saving Smiles reduces the prevalence of tooth decay in under-served children and remove barriers to learning.

This is accomplished by providing dental screenings, dental sealants, fluoride varnish, and oral health education free of charge targeting Houston’s at-risk 2nd graders who are enrolled in schools with 70% or more students on the Free and Reduced Lunch Program.

The 2001 Dental Needs Assessment in Harris County revealed 45.9% of 2nd graders had untreated decay. It is known that children who suffer from oral health problems cannot learn well and miss days from school. According to the 2000 Surgeon General’s Report, more than 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental-related illness. Additionally, children who experience pain from tooth problems are likely to be distracted and unable to concentrate on their school work.

Since its inception, Project Saving Smiles has provided 25,019 dental screenings, 77,706 dental sealants, 24,779 fluoride varnishes, and oral health education free of charge to second graders enrolled in a free or reduced lunch program across Houston.

The PSS partners with the Texas Department of State Health Services, Good Neighbor Healthcare Center, Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services, Texas Oral Health Coalition – Houston Region, higher academic institutions, school districts, private industries, and non-profit organizations. Partners share in the planning process, resources distribution, and implementation of PSS.

Houston HiTs home

Houston HITS Home, formerly known as HIP HIP for HIV, raises AIDS/HIV awareness in the community and promotes prevention by offering free concert tickets for participants that receive HIV screening and attend an educational session for one hour.

Every 7 hours 1 person in Houston is infected with HIV. There are currently 7,650 individuals known living with HIV/AIDS in Houston/Harris County and 76% of all reported STD rates are among 15-24 year olds.

Houston HITS Home began in 2007 and grew with support from local sponsors such as 97.9 THE BOX radio station, AIDS Foundation and other community groups. To date HIP HOP for HIV has been able to reach over 15,460 people in the Houston area and with your help we hope to help raise awareness and prevent the further spread of AIDS in our communities.

Please visit: www.houstonhitshome.org for more information.

Community nutrition

The Community Food Security Initiatives’ frameworks help individuals understand the connection between healthy eating and chronic illness, develop volunteers as champions for healthy eating, especially in communities with food access barriers, strengthen the capacity of community organizations to develop their own healthy living programs, and identify and address policies that contribute to food deserts. The initiative includes both the Farmers Markets and Community Gardens programs.

According to CDC’s 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 12% of high school students in Texas are obese and 78.7% ate fewer than five servings for fruits and vegetables per day. Our community gardens encourage communities to share and utilize open spaces that have been created to grow organic and nutritional produce families to cook at home. Over 2,400 local families are provided with access to our gardens and given additional education on the nutritional value that comes from eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

The Community Gardens Program has raised a total of 72 garden beds and services 12 communities through our Multi-Service Centers. We want to continue to make healthy foods available to the citizens of Houston and with your help we hope to reach more communities and help raise awareness on how healthy food choices can make a difference in obesity prevention.


The HHD Assessment, Intervention and Mobilization (AIM) initiative reaches out to targeted communities to engage stakeholders, gather information about the community, disseminate information, link clients with services, build community capacity, and enhance the skills and readiness of HHD staff.

The Houston Health Department (HHD) is the public health agency for the City of Houston, with a 2010 census population of 2,099,451. Houston is racially and ethnically diverse. Residents are 25.6% white (non-Hispanic): 43.8% Hispanic, 23.7% black, 6.0% Asian, and 1% other. Houston is also a large city, with 579 square miles of land area.

Since its inception, HHD has conducted ten AIM projects. The door to door outreach campaign has reached 50,406 households, and has resulted in 4,708 service referrals for assistance.

The AIM initiative consists of a three phased approach:

  • Assessment- determines needs and resources by compiling a community profile, conducting surveys, and interviewing local leaders and key community members.     
  • Intervention- identifies and engages community stakeholders; sends teams into the community to go door-to-door to disseminate and collect information; links clients to service providers; and provides resources, such as food baskets, to those in need of immediate assistance.     
  • Mobilization- builds community capacity to make improvements, such as implementing neighborhood action teams, clean-ups, home repair programs, Neighborhood Protection Corps, and other functions.

HHD has frequently collaborated with other City, organizational and community shareholders to accomplish public health goals. These include City of Houston agencies such as the Police, Public Works and Engineering, Solid Waste management, Neighborhoods, Animal Regulation and Care, as well as Parks and Recreation Departments. HHD also relies on other community-based organizations, civic organizations, and community members to assist in meeting Touch Phase goals and needs.