Houston Health Department
Initially founded in 2006, the Community Health Planning, Evaluation and Research (CHPER), formerly known as the Community Health Statistics (CHS) program, has continued to provide data and information on the city, for diverse internal and external stakeholders. CHPER has actively conducted public health research for the Houston Department of Health & Human Services over a wide range of health outcomes. Using community health assessments and utilizing quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods, CHPER provides scientific expertise to its stakeholders, in addition to disseminating its work locally and nationally to inform public health practice. CHPER has been the primary driver of the adoption of program evaluation in HDHHS in the public health practice setting. CHPER comprises a team of analysts in the areas of biostatistics, epidemiology and geographic information systems. CHPER plays an important role Department-wide to bring community health issues to the forefront, to inform program development, to promote evidence-based practices and data-driven health policy.
Deborah Banerjee, Ph.D., MS, is a public health practitioner, evaluator and researcher with Community Health Planning, Evaluation and Research at the Houston Health Department. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas, School of Public Health. She also holds an adjunct faculty appointment with School of Public Health. With over fifteen years of experience in areas like public health research and practice, mental health and substance abuse, clinical investigational drug trials, she has specialized in Behavioral Sciences, Epidemiology, Health Policy and Health Disparities. She is involved in planning, evaluating and managing many of the City of Houston Health Department research and evaluation activities. Her special areas of interest are health disparities, chronic diseases, social epidemiology, underserved populations, contextual factors influencing disease, measurement and structural equation modeling. She collaborates with academic and community partners to bring in diverse perspectives into her quantitative and qualitative work, in an effort to bridge the gap between practice and research.
Vishnu Nepal, MSc., MPH, DrPH © holds an MPH degree from the University of Texas, School of Public Health and has been working in the field of Public Health for more than ten years at various organizations. His current work, as Staff Analyst, is primarily focused on community assessment using evidence based tools and techniques and providing technical backstopping for multiple projects in the areas of program development and evaluation. He is a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas, School of Public Health. His special areas of interest are needs assessment, outcome evaluation using advanced statistical methods such as propensity score analysis, vulnerable population, social medicine, underserved population and program planning. His training and experience in the field of qualitative research has been valuable to add a new dimension to the departmental needs assessments. He believes in collective effort, community buy-in and a systematic approach for change to improve health outcomes.
William F. Bryant, Jr., M.A., is a statistician and has worked for the City of Houston Health Department for the past five years. He received his masters from Rice University and his primary interests lie within the field of public health informatics. While at HDHHS, Mr. Bryant has worked extensively the development of department’s electronic surveillance system. He has also served as a subject matter expert on information exchange projects and as a statistical consultant for programs throughout HDHHS. He is currently pursuing a doctoral and a second masters degree at the School of Biomedical Informatics and the University of Texas, School of Public Health. Mr. Bryant’s research interests are in the development and usability of technology in public health, spatial epidemiology, and health disparities.
Monica Childers, BS, is a licensed professional geoscientist (P.G.) in the State of Texas. She received a bachelor’s degree in Geology from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Mrs. Childers has more than ten years of experience applying Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to the study of environmental science, emergency management, and public health in the course of her work as an environmental consultant and GIS analyst. Currently, she is the Senior GIS Analyst for the City of Houston’s Department of Health & Human Services, Community Health Planning, Evaluation and Research program, where she performs mapping and spatial analysis of both infectious and chronic diseases, as well as socio-economic indicators as they relate to health outcomes and public health preparedness.
Whitney Harrison, MPH, has a varied background in public health, including experience in community health promotion, evaluation and clinical research. She currently is an Epidemiologist-Biostatistician for the Office of Health Planning, Evaluation and Program Development, Houston Department of Health & Human Services. Her public health interests include environmental and occupational health, infectious disease outbreaks, and minority and low-income population’s health behaviors and outcomes, as it relates to chronic diseases. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Xavier University of Louisiana and a master’s degree in Epidemiology from Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine.
Lindsey M. Wiginton, MPH received her B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from Texas A&M University and an MPH in Epidemiology from the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health. Ms. Wiginton has been with HDHHS since 2013, working on various projects regarding public health accreditation, quality improvement, performance management, and program evaluation. Her public health interests include maternal and child health; chronic disease, zoonotic, and spatial epidemiology; and program planning and evaluation.
Beiyi Cai, MS, is a statistician and advanced SAS programmer. She worked for College of Education at University of Texas at Austin for three and half years before her career in community and public health. In her current role, she builds on her experience in health services policy and administration, data collection and analysis in the public health domain, and report writing. Her areas of interests are health disparities among vulnerable and underserved population, chronic health conditions, health surveillance and data systems, health planning and evaluation and data analysis for research studies.
Latreka Kingsberry, MPH, is currently a community liaison for the Office of Health Planning, Evaluation, and Program Development. She holds an MPH from Texas A&M Health Science Center, School
of Rural Public Health with an emphasis in health management and policy. She is currently pursuing a MBA from the University of Houston – Clear Lake with an emphasis in non-profit management. She has four years in the field of public health, including experience in community health promotion and clinical research. Her areas of interests are health disparities among underserved populations, chronic disease, access to health care for homeless populations, health law/policies, as well as health planning and promotion.
Lakisha Davis, BS, has a varied background in Community and Public Health. She has more than 15 years’ experience working with at risk populations. She is currently a Community Liaison for the Colorectal Cancer Awareness & Screening Program for the City of Houston, Department of Health and Human Service. In her current role she builds on her experience in community and public health by bringing awareness and educating the public on Colorectal Cancer. Her area of interest is racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in health outcomes.
Beverly J. Gor, EdD, Staff Analyst, is a registered dietitian and has held a number of positions in public health and research, while also being involved in several community organizations. She completed her undergraduate degree in dietetics and food service management at the University of Houston, her master’s degree in nutrition and food science at Texas Woman’s University and her doctoral degree in Allied Health Education and Administration at the University of Houston and Baylor College of Medicine. She co-founded the Asian American Health Coalition which established a federally qualified health center called the HOPE Clinic. Dr. Gor helped to develop CAN DO Houston, a non-profit childhood obesity collaborative which works with underserved communities in creating healthier environments. Prior to joining DHHS, Dr. Gor was a faculty member at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center where she conducted several studies focused on reducing cancer risk among minority populations. Her special interests include Asian American health disparities, community based participatory research, and designing nutrition and physical activity programs to reduce obesity and chronic disease.
For more information please visit https://www.houstontx.gov/health/chs/index.html.
Super Neighborhood Specific Community Health Profiles
In the recent years, CHS has explored available infectious and chronic disease data, vital statistics, and environmental data to develop community health profiles of the 88 Super Neighborhoods in Houston. Learn more about these community health profiles.
CHS provides data analysis and mapping support to the various divisions and bureaus of HDHHS and its partners. We also provide data analysis and interpretation to other stakeholders in the communities.
Peer reviewed articles
- Health Promotion in the Inner City: Process of Implementing a Community Based Participatory Project. Journal of Texas Public Health Association, October 2007.
- Hurricane Ike rapid needs assessment - Houston, Texas, September 2008. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2009 Oct 2;58(38):1066-71. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19798020?dopt=Citation
- Self-reported Health, Functional Status and Chronic Disease in Community Dwelling Older Adults: Untangling the Role of Demographics. J Community Health. 2009 Dec 24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20033835?dopt=Citation
- On mixing qualitative methods. Qual Health Res. 2010 Feb;20(2):281. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20065311?dopt=Citation
- Beliefs and Actions Related to Youth Development in Adults in a Houston Inner-City Neighborhood
- Understanding Disaster Preparedness of Linguistically Isolated Groups (Chinese, Somali, Vietnamese and Spanish Speaking Communities)
- Public Health and Disaster Preparedness of Vulnerable Populations in Houston - November 2009
- Communicating Disaster Preparedness With Linguistically Isolated Populations - Guidance Document - 2009
- Women of Worth - Factors Related to Prenatal Care among Women of Greater Fifth Ward: A qualitative and quantitative project
PHP Summit 2010 blog. (https://phprep.wordpress.com/2010/02/19/hearing-the-unheard/)
Houston Applies Spatial Data and GIS to Support Local Organizations
Spatiotemporal Analysis of Syphilis Case Distribution
Additional Information of Interest