An App a Day

+ Word Play

”The water is wet.” “The towel feels warm!”

Feeding young children a constant diet of new words is critical to their development, says Jennifer Stapel-Wax, associate professor of pediatrics at Emory and director of Infant and Toddler Clinical Research Operations at the Marcus Autism Center. “There’s this dance that a baby and caregiver get into that is all about social communications and the use of language.” To ensure that every child is “fed” the language they need to thrive, Georgia’s Talk With Me Baby (TWMB) partnership was formed between Marcus Autism Center, Emory’s schools of medicine and nursing, and other community organizations. “Talking with your baby is essential because 85 percent of all brain neurons are developed by age three,” says Ashley Darcy Mahoney, assistant professor of nursing at Emory. TWMB has a website, curriculum, training materials, and now a mobile app. The app has information about brain development, tracks milestones, and prompts parents with phrases to use during everyday activities, from visits to the park to bath time.

+ Finding Protection

By now, many who are at risk of HIV have heard of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), a daily pill that helps protect against infection, available since 2012.

What they may not know is where to get it or how to navigate the insurance paperwork to pay for it. To help, Rollins School of Public Health researchers developed the PrEP Locator app, which gives users easy access to the first online national database of PrEP providers. When a user logs on, a map pops up with nearby providers. The database is also searchable by zip code. “PrEP has the potential to substantially reduce the number of new HIV infections in the U.S., but only if people know how and where to get it,” says Aaron Siegler, a research assistant professor in Rollins who developed the app. The app also identifies providers with PrEP navigators, who can help clients with logistics. “We’ll keep working to find ways to get it to everyone who needs it,” says Siegler.

Learn more about Preplocator

+ Healthy Smiles

Students at Hollis Innovation Academy in northwest Atlanta now have easy access to dental care through a program created by Emory and Grady clinicians.

All students have to do is visit the dental exam room that opened in the school’s health clinic as part of OH I CAN (Oral Health in Communities and Neighborhoods), which provides affordable dental care to low-income families. Quite often, when patients are referred to a dentist, they never make the trip because of cost, work conflicts, and lack of transportation. A new OH I CAN app helps providers by capturing patients’ dental histories. Developed at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, the app has versions tailored for children and adults. Users create a confidential oral health profile that is saved to a data registry. Providers can use the data to assess patients’ needs and provide care. A website is also in the works.

Long term, the team plans to introduce their model to urban and rural communities across Georgia.

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