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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

North Texas: Online Symptom Checker Answers New Moms’ Health Questions

The University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) has joined with Texas Christian University (TCU) and North Texas families to develop a new online tool for helping postpartum moms take care of their health.

This easy-to-use, online symptom checker for mothers just home from the hospital, is now being adopted for use across the country by the National Institute on Minority Health and Disparities.

The idea initiated with Dr. Teresa Wagner, a leading Texas health literacy advocate, who is assistant professor with the UNTHSC School of Public Health, Senior Fellow for Health Literacy with SaferCare Texas, and Fellow and Project Director for the Texas Center for Health Disparities, funder of the project through award number U54MD006882.

Over the last year, Dr. Wagner and a UNTHSC student mentee talked with parents about the health questions and concerns new mothers face when leaving the hospital, while TCU nursing students and faculty interviewed maternity nurses and community health workers for insight into new mothers’ educational needs and the cultural appropriateness of health materials provided.

With assistance from TCU computer science students, the team used this information to build an online symptom checker called “What About Mom?” where parents can learn about potential health warning signs and what to do.

“Coming home from the hospital with a new baby is hard, whether you’re a first-time parent or have done it before,” Dr. Wagner said. “New moms are so busy; they may not always recognize when a problem of their own might require a call to the doctor or visit to the emergency room.”

The symptom checker includes a section for partners, who may be the first to recognize the unusual and can do a lot to help ensure moms’ health and safety.

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