Dell Medical School Crowdsourcing to Improve Community Health

AUSTIN, Texas - Since the Dell Medical School has taken root, researchers have begun planting ideas to improve healthcare.

"You know how people usually use thermometers to show growth of a campaign? So, we deliberately chose a tree," said Lourdes Rodriguez, director of the Center for Place-Based Initiatives at UT Dell Medical Center.

But now, they need more.

"We're inviting everyone and their mother to submit their ideas for improving health for their community," said Rodriguez.

And they have.

"We have ideas coming from people who have been cancer survivors. We have ideas that have come from community activists. We have gotten ideas from businesses," said Rodriguez.

The school will focus on population health - an approach that looks beyond medical history to a patient's lifestyle, and that outlook invites creativity.

"What we're trying to create is an opportunity for people to provide innovative ways to solve problems that come from life experience," said Rodriguez.

So far, the medical school has received over 30 ideas, and they're not all clinical. Some people suggested anything from better park access to gardening.

"We're defining health very broadly. About 20 percent of your health is determined by clinical interventions that you're exposed to, but the other 80 percent has more to do with behaviors, the environment in which you live and, to some extent, genetics," said Rodriguez.

Central Health says when the public is involved, everyone is bound to succeed.

"These kinds of community generated ideas are exactly the sort of things that we're going to invest in to ensure that all residents have equal access to health care and the things that make us healthy," said Sarah Cook of Central Health.

Now that the seed for better healthcare is planted, the community must cultivate the creativity.

The public has until Jan. 6 to submit ideas, which can be

You have until January 6th to submit your ideas, which can be done at any Austin public library branch.