The Greater Houston area is home to a diverse population and a rich collection of cultural, visual and performing arts, and academic institutions, as well as multiple professional sports teams. The area is powered by an economy based on a variety of industries, ranging from energy and technology to health care and aeronautics. As of 2011, twenty-three Fortune 500 companies have their headquarters in the city of Houston or the surrounding metropolitan area. The Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world with a local economic impact of $10 billion, is also located in Houston. More than 52,000 people work within its facilities and 4.8 million patients visit them each year.
Despite its many cultural, industrial, and economic achievements, the uninsured rate of Texas is the highest in the nation at 26 percent, with 30 percent of Houston's residents currently uninsured. Additionally, there is a marked differences in the insurance status of racial and ethnic groups in the Greater Houston area, with 11 percent of whites being uninsured in 2010, compared to 54.8 percent of Hispanics and 26.7 percent of blacks. The American Lung Association also named the metropolitan area’s ozone level as the eighth worst in the United States. Furthermore, Houston's poverty rate of 22.8 percent is significantly higher than the national average of 15.3 percent.
In response to these health disparities, CHMI is partnering with Greater Houston community leaders to develop a regional Blueprint for Action, a strategic plan outlining various steps to improve local health and wellness in the area.