Health and Human Services
Message from the Director
The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department (HHSD) deploys a variety of strategies through direct service provision and in partnership with community organizations to achieve the Department’s mission to prevent disease, promote health and protect the well-being of our community. To that end, Department services include child care and youth development programs, homeless assistance, environmental health services, disease surveillance and prevention, community health initiatives, birth and death record registrations, and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.
Over the past year HHSD is proud of several accomplishments. To further advance the quality of life for all residents, the department submitted its formal application for accreditation as a local public health entity. Working with our partners, stakeholders and residents, we are addressing the many factors that influence health inequities, including rates of childhood poverty, rates of smoking, obesity levels, teen birth rates, access to care, access to healthy foods, and levels of physical activity. While there is great prosperity in the Austin community, significant disparities in the health status of our population persist. Regardless of income, education, or ethnic background, everyone should have the opportunity to live a long, healthy life.
In FY 2014-15 the Department’s Environmental Health unit met its performance target of 2 inspections per restaurant over the year for the first time since at least 2008. This represented a sharp increase over the prior year where only 1.64 inspections were conducted per fixed food establishment. Also in 2015 the combined incidence rate of reported cases per 100,000 population of Measles, Pertussis, Mumps, and Rubella in community served was 15. The performance target was 28, the exceedance of which is a testament to the positive outcomes that have been achieved through the Department’s myriad programs in immunizations and community health. Finally, in FY 2014-15 81.26% of households served through City of Austin social service contracts were able to maintain housing or transition into housing from homelessness, which exceeded the target of 75%. Providing case management services to the homeless is a crucial tool the City has in addressing the intractable problems of this vulnerable population.
HHSD is committed to continuous improvements throughout its programs and service areas and will continue to work with, and for, the community to promote health, safety and well-being.