2004: The Council is formed
Former Mayor Will Wynn established the Mayor’s Fitness Council to raise awareness of the cost of health care, to promote prevention of chronic diseases and better health in Austin, and to promote the city of Austin as a healthy place to live and work, with the vision of becoming “The fittest city in the U.S.”
2005 – 2007: Program Development began
Development on programs such as The Austin Fit Index and the pilot Partner Certification Program began and were designed in alignment with Healthy People 2010 and the council’s program objectives. These programs were created to help local employers measure health and wellness in individuals and organizations. The “Fit City Summit” was held in Austin with other Texas mayor’s fitness councils from around the state to share best practices.
2008 – 2010: Partner Certification launched
The Partner Certification Program launched and certified its first 8 organizations including: Austaco Inc., Seton Family of Hospitals, United Way of Capital Area, Silicon Laboratories, Inc., Omni Austin Hotel Downtown, Eckert Group Insurance, Lance Armstrong Foundation, and City of Austin.
A state grant from the Texas Governor’s Advisory Council on Physical Fitness was awarded to the Mayor’s Fitness Council to help fund programs. The Active Texas Summit was held to educate and train 50 local organizations in Austin to implement the Partner Certification Program. Austin’s Mayor’s Fitness Council was invited to share program initiatives and best practices/outcomes with other cities at the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington, D.C. The council also joined the First Lady Michelle Obama’s national “Let’s Move” initiative to end childhood obesity.
The Austin Business Group on Health (ABGOH), an employer-based leadership collaborative focused on “value based benefits design” and best practices, was established.
Certified 16 new organizations in the Partner Certification Program.
2011 – 2013: Continued growth for Partnerships
The Partner Certification Program expanded to include standard and gold levels of certification. The gold level designation requires organizations to be certified through CEO Cancer Gold Standard, a national certification and recognition process. Certified 7 new organizations in the Partner Certification Program with Seton Healthcare being the first organization to achieve the gold level certification.
Hosted the Taste of Austin: Chef Showdown, which challenged local restaurants to create healthy meals.
Austin Mayor’s Fitness Council reorganized as a 501(c) 3 non-profit entity and changes the name to Mayor’s Health and Fitness Council (MHFC) to reflect a holistic approach to wellness.
MHFC Board approved the addition of mother-friendly policies to the criteria for the Partner Certification Program to promote the Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Program (DSHS).
2014 – 2016: Keeping Austin Healthy
ABGOH hosted regular meetings for workplaces covering member-selected topics such as: “Impact of Obesity in the Workplace,” “Integration of Technology into Wellness,” “Building Employee Resilience” and “Population Health Management Lessons from Workers’ Compensation.”
MHFC Partner Certification application updated to reflect four pillars of health including, Tobacco-free policies, Mother-friendly policies, Nutrition and Healthy eating policies, and physical activity promotion.
Certified 2 partner organizations using new application.
2017 – 2018: Mayor’s Health & Fitness Awards celebrates excellence
The MHFC Partner Certification Program expanded to include bronze, silver and gold certification levels. As an extension of the MHFC Partner Certification Program, the Mayor’s Healthiest Workplaces and Mayor’s Healthiest Schools programs were developed to recognize organizations dedicated to supporting environments that support health and wellness.
The 2017 Mayor’s Health & Fitness Awards ceremony (inaugural) recognized 35 MHFC Certified Partners and 60 elementary/middle schools from Austin ISD, Del Valle ISD and Pflugerville ISD as ‘exemplary.’
The 2018 Mayor’s Health & Fitness Awards ceremony recognized 7 certified partners, 26 nominees for the Mayor’s Healthiest Workplace Awards and 87 elementary/middle schools that achieved ‘exemplary’ status from Austin ISD, Del Valle ISD and Pflugerville ISD.
Current total number of active MHFC Partner Certifications is 44 workplaces, bringing programmatic reach to over 95,000 employees.