The Health Equity Response (H.E.R.) Initiative and Task Force is a vital component of the City of Houston’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery effort launched by Mayor Sylvester Turner in April 2020 as an intervention for vulnerable and at-risk populations.

The initiative is led by five Mayor’s Office Division Directors with implementation visioning and support from the H.E.R. Task Force comprised of more than 50 civic leaders. The mayoral appointees to the Task Force include medical specialists, public health professionals, communications creatives, data scientists, technology experts and faith leaders.

The H.E.R. Task Force is addressing health inequities and access by accelerating the data-driven, targeted and rapid response for residents in 22 priority Super Neighborhoods, which include Acres Home, Denver Harbor, Eastex-Jensen, Fifth Ward, Gulfton, Independence Heights, Kashmere Gardens, Sunnyside and Third Ward.

MASK UP! Campaign

Mayor Sylvester Turner, along with the H.E.R. Task Force, recruited some of Houston’s top celebrities to serve as campaign ambassadors to help spread the  message.

Olympic gold medalist and world champion gymnast Simone Biles, Major League Baseball World Series Champion Carlos Correa, and Houston rapper – the Boss of All Bosses – Slim Thug are doing their part to educate Houstonians on why face masks and social distancing are crucial in the fight against COVID-19.

The public health campaign will focus primarily on the Complete Communities and other “at-risk” neighborhoods with large percentages of residents living with health conditions that make them vulnerable to contracting the virus.

COVID-19 Essentials

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed and intensified health inequities in communities where people were already struggling. Combined with new economic challenges, some of our neighbors now face increased food insecurity as well as little-to-no resources to acquire items for novel coronavirus protection and to maintain general health.

To provide some relief, the Mayor’s H.E.R. Task Force regularly partners with local organizations to distribute free food, masks, hand sanitizer and educational materials.

Resilient Houston Plan

To effectively navigate through the global coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Sylvester Turner has updated the Resilient Houston plan to include a COVID-19 addendum to guide the city’s response to this public health crisis and associated economic impacts.  Resilient Houston is the city’s strategy for responding and recovering from unexpected shocks and systemic stresses, such as a hurricane, flooding, cyberattacks, or terrorism.

The draft outline of the Resilient Houston (.pdf) and Spanish translation (.pdf) strategy is being circulated for feedback from September 10th to October 1st. Feedback is requested through this survey.

Data and Mapping

The Health Equity Response Initiative is a data driven effort that leverages existing efforts, including the Resilient Houston strategy and the Complete Communities Action Plans to address the intersection of underlying health disparities with increased vulnerability of specific populations and neighborhoods.