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Experts Discuss the Powerful Relationship between Education and Health

HOUSTON, TX, July 2012 – Members of the healthcare, business, and education communities gathered yesterday to participate in a briefing on key findings about the link between education and health. The briefing and subsequent dialogue, hosted by Center for Houston’s Future, The Region’s Think Tank, was the second installment of the Center’s Summer Salons, which connect cross-sector leadership to develop concrete solutions that improve the region’s sustainability and competitiveness. Ken Janda, President & CEO of Community Health Choice, Inc. and CHF Leadership Forum graduate, moderated the conversation and provided a unique perspective as a professional with more than 25 years in the managed care industry. Center for Houston’s Future Board member Juanita Romans, CEO of the Roman’s Group, an international healthcare consulting firm, introduced the panelists.

Conversation was focused on the findings of the 2012 Community Indicator Report on Human Capital Development and Education, and examined the powerful connection between education and health, the role our schools play in preparing children for academic success and healthier lives and other aspects of the link between education and healthcare.

Panelist Dr. Patricia Gail-Bray, Executive Director & Chief Administrative and Academic Officer of St. Luke’s Episcopal Health Charities stressed, “The link between education and health is irrefutable. The more education a person has, the healthier their lifestyle and the lower their health care costs. Education is the number one thing we can do to improve health across all populations…regardless of culture, ethnicity, or income, education is number one.”

Dr. Luisa Franzini, Associate Professor & Director of the Management, Policy and Community Health of the UT School of Public Health and researcher in the fields of health economics and socioeconomic determinants of health, spoke to the importance of education among mothers as the level of education they receive determines the health of their children. Education is generational; the more education the mother has, the more their children are likely to have.

Audience members expressed concerns and opinions regarding the long and short term strategies to provide better education outcomes. “Our region can reap benefits that result throughout our lives and society, as we see that with more education come healthy communities, higher voting rates and a stronger community over all,” said audience member, Paulette Wagner.

Ashley Weathers, of Small Steps Nurturing Center, explained that her non-profit organization that serves low income families and children from 2-6 years of age, aims to provide students with smaller classrooms, highly qualified teachers, innovative curriculum and an environment where parents can learn about the importance of early education intervention. “We serve the whole family,” said Weathers.

Audience members agreed that positive change is needed in education, and conversations like this one are necessary as change is not an event, but a process. Join the Center for Houston’s Future for its 3rd Summer Salon on August 18th where the discussion will be focused on My Degree Counts, part of a bold nationwide initiative that encourages people to return to college and complete their degrees with the goal of boosting regional economies.

Center for Houston’s Future, The Region’s Think Tank, is a 501 c(3) non-profit organization that works to solve our region’s toughest problems by providing meaningful research, defining innovative strategies, and engaging diverse leaders.

To learn more, visit

Mercedes Santos-Garay
Manager – Communications & Events
Center for Houston’s Future
1200 Smith, Suite 1150, Houston, TX 77002 | 713-844-9328 | (F): 713-844-9348 | |
Center for Houston’s Future: The Region’s Think Tan

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