Out and Proud for Science

The first PRIDE was a riot. No glitter, parades or corporations eager to release their brand-new shiny rainbow collections. The Stonewall uprising was ignited by constant police harassment and discrimination toward LGBTQ folx at the time. June 1969 was a turning point to state that we are here, we are queer, and we are not …

How community gardens support the fight against food insecurity in Greater Houston

Houston ranks among the top 50 cities with the highest obesity rates in the U.S., with 34% of Houston children now struggling with obesity. At the same time, Feeding America reports that Harris County has the second-highest number of food insecure individuals across all US counties, with 869,000 individuals not knowing when or where their …

Examining the effects of environmental inequity in Houston

Where we live profoundly affects nearly every aspect of our lives, including the quality of education we receive, the availability of good-paying jobs, access to high-quality healthcare and fresh food, and more. One year into the pandemic, it is also evident that the neighborhood we live in influences our chances of catching COVID-19 and getting …

Houstonians’ Experiences with Hurricane Harvey and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Analyzing major challenges facing vulnerable populations For many residents in the greater Houston area, two recent disasters have had lasting impact on their lives — Hurricane Harvey and the COVID-19 pandemic. The former dumped up to 60 inches of unrelenting rain that devastated neighborhood after neighborhood. COVID-19, of course, has hit the entire world and …

Children’s Mental Health in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Understanding and supporting our most vulnerable youth The impact of COVID-19 on the Greater Houston community has been, and continues to be, unpredictable. However, there is one thing we know with certainty — the pandemic is affecting children’s mental health. Adults and children alike feel the psychological impact of the pandemic, which often includes anxiety …

It’s “Okay to Say™” that you or a loved one have a mental illness

How evolving perspectives on mental health lead to more effective treatment and prevention. I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could!  As a new Houstonian and the new Executive Director of The Hackett Center for Mental Health, I am honored to join the Understanding Houston initiative to address important …

The 21-Year Gap

Exploring how life expectancies vary across Houston-area neighborhoods. Houston is home to the world’s biggest medical center, which includes the largest children’s hospital, the nation’s top-ranked cancer hospital, and internationally recognized pioneers in research and medicine. Yet, if you drive less than five miles southeast of the Texas Medical Center, you will find clusters of …

NAMI executive director, advocate for a broader perspective on mental illness

Neal Sarahan: Doctor — Ally — Advocate for mental illness Annual physicals are a natural rhythm in a modern adult’s life, but nearly 15% of Americans haven’t had contact with a health care professional in the past year. Mental-health check-ups are even less common. Approximately, 1 in 5 adult Americans experiences mental illness in a …