As a part of the Texas Congregate Meal Initiative (TCMI) funded by the Administration of Community Living (ACL) under the Older Americans Act, in collaboration with the Public Policy Research Institute (PPRI) and Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission ‐ Access and Eligibility Services launched the TCMI Learning Collaborative (LC). The key goal of this LC was to increase participation in the congregate meal program across Texas by helping the LC participants to develop their business development skills and capacities for programmatic innovations. The Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M kicked off the Learning Collaborative with a 3-day virtual workshop in October 2020. This webpage provides the workshop agenda and all other relevant material for the LC participants. During the workshop, sixteen selected nutrition providers within the TCMI LC cohort learned from each other and from Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) while they brainstormed, explored and exchanged ideas about an innovative, low‐cost project idea that could address the needs of their targeted communities. The providers who are able to develop novel business plans would have the final opportunity to pilot their plans and demonstrate their efficacy, prior to disseminating effectiveness lessons and replication insights on a national scale. The Learning Collaborative phase of TCMI provides the participants with the unique opportunity to influence the trajectory of the congregate meal programs across Texas and showcase local Texas innovations and replication possibilities to the nation. From November 2020 to March 2021, the 16 provider participants received proposal preparation and idea development guidance through regular TA sessions by project staff including subject matter experts. A detailed list of all documents that pilot participants could access is available here. Going forward, the pilots will be implemented from September 1, 2021 and their progress and project outcomes will be tracked using a dashboard.

Oct. 2021 to May 2021 | Implementation Phase

TCMI Implementation kicked off with a virtual meeting on October 14th, 2021 followed by formal implementation starting on October 18th. The congregate providers will implement their pilot ideas in their respective pilot sites during this time. PPRI and SMEs will collect data from the sites throughout the pilot implementation process.

June 2021 to Oct. 2021 | Implementation “Getting Ready” Phase

TCMI Subject Matter Experts outlined unique questions and suggestions for each site to clarify their implementation goals and objectives. Throughout the summer, Project Staff will meet with each site individually to review these implementation strategies and clarify metrics to facilitate evaluation of the innovative pilots.

Nov. 2020 to Mar. 2021 | TCMI Pilot Plan Development Phase

TCMI Subject Matter Experts held regular Technical Assistance (TA) office hours to provide necessary guidance for TCMI pilot planning by the sites. SMEs asked LC participants to submit the one-pager used during the October 30 parallel session to workshop their TCMI innovative pilot idea with their peers. Based on a close review of these one-pagers, the TCMI SME group  designed and customized targeted TA for four thematic groups of participants, providing access to necessary resources and one-to-one feedback for all 16 TCMI participants. The overarching goal for the targeted TA approach was to facilitate pilot planning success through an exemplary, utilization-focused TCMI community of practice.