PCCI Sachs Summer Scholar Makes Forbes 30 Under 30 List

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PCCI Sachs Summer Scholar Makes Forbes 30 Under 30 List

In its recently released 30 Under 30 List, Forbes Magazine included Meghna “Chili” Pramoda in its Education section for her part in helping found SafeTeensOnline. Pramoda was a member of PCCI’s 2022 class of Sachs Summer Scholars interns, a program focused on advancing women in data science. During her term, Pramoda and a partner worked with PCCI data scientists for their research on using Safegraph Visualization in PCCI’s Community Vulnerability Compass. To view her and her partner’s end of term presentation, go to the 1 hour, 8 minute mark of this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3BJ3EZJoE4

In the Forbes article on Pramoda, she is lauded for developing a system to support her peers in owning their online presence, from Forbes:

Founded by Vinny Veeramachaneni in 2017 and now spearheaded by cofounders Meghna “Chili” Pramoda and her sister Siona “Dolly” Pramoda, SafeTeensOnline is a nonprofit that offers English and Spanish language education on digital safety, in addition to courses in coding and ethical hacking. The Pramoda sisters created STOCyberReady, an app that helps teens understand the impact of their digital choices by analyzing their cyber risk and offering educational tips to reduce risk. The app is currently being used in 34 schools with a tentative public release set for 2024. SafeTeensOnline has partnered with the Taco Bell Foundation, T-Mobile, and the Department of Homeland Security.

Read the full article here: https://www.forbes.com/profile/safeteensonline/?sh=2a5c500913a5

PCCI Innovation – Pediatric Asthma AI/ML program receives Kaiser Permanente grant

PCCI Innovation – Pediatric Asthma AI/ML program receives Kaiser Permanente grant

The Kaiser Permanente Division of Research (KP-DOR) in partnership with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has selected PCCI and Parkland Health’s AI/ML Model for Pediatric Asthma Care as one of five national programs to receive the prestigious award to advance Augmented Intelligence in Medicine and Healthcare (AIM-HI).  The three-year grant is designed to evaluate the implementation of existing Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning algorithms that enhance diagnostic decision-making, identify best practices for scalability, and build capacity for effectively implementing and rigorously evaluating the use of AI/ML algorithms in real-world settings.  Through a rigorous and highly competitive process involving more than 120 leading organization pioneering AI in healthcare, the five organizations were selected representing a diverse set of diagnostic areas, patient populations and clinical settings.

“We are extremely proud and excited to be selected for the Augmented Intelligence in Medicine and Healthcare Initiative,” said PCCI’s CEO, Steve Miff, PhD. “This is one of the first and most comprehensive grants to date directly focusing on scaling and rigorously evaluating the ethical and equitable applications of AI in diagnostic decision-making in real-world settings.  We are looking forward to not only contributing to advance the adoption of AI in patient care using sound research methods but learning from the industry leading experts at the Kaiser Permanente’s Division of Research and the pioneers in AI at the other AIM-HI peer organizations and their partners.”

PCCI and Parkland have developed and deployed an AI/ML risk prediction model leveraging EHR data to identify rising asthma risk in pediatric patients. The model generates risk reports to frontline providers and is integrated into Parkland’s EHR to trigger point-of-care alerts during outpatient visits for Very-High- or High-Risk patients.  The programs also include a direct to patients and care-givers text-based engagement, education, symptom monitoring and alerting.  Originally developed and deployed in collaboration with the Parkland Community Health Plan (PCHP) to support the care of Medicaid children across North Texas, the program was expanded to Parkland Health clinics in 2019 and has been highly effective in identifying rising risk patients and preventing ED and hospital admissions for asthma. (https://pccinnovation.org/parkland-program-helps-pediatric-patients-with-asthma-management/)   

The AIM-HI program will test the generalizability of Parkland’s model in two additional large Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs): Los Barrios Unidos (LBU) and Foremost Family Health Centers (Foremost), which serve some of the most underserved and diverse Dallas communities. 

In addition to the organizations directly involved in the AIM-HI program, PCCI and Parkland Health continue to partner with Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) to expand the use of the new Pediatric Asthma Surveillance System (PASS) that describes community-level information regarding pediatric asthma risk factors in Dallas County. The PASS dashboard is available on the DCHHS website where families can be made aware of their local risks. (https://pccinnovation.org/new-site/pediatric-asthma-surveillance-system/)

Leading the program for PCCI include Yolande Pengetnze, MD, MS and George (Holt) Oliver, MD, PhD, with Parkland Health’s Cesar Termulo, Jr., MD, as the lead program investigator.

PCCI and Parkland have been innovators in building, deploying and testing AI/ML model for over a decade, with close to a dozen active model in production today.  The pediatric asthma program supporting children with asthma in Dallas is one of these programs.  To learn more about PCCI’s overall work, please view our newly released 2023 Impact Report.

For more information about the Kaiser Permanente AIM-HI program and learn about the other awardees go to: https://divisionofresearch.kaiserpermanente.org/kaiser-permanente-ai-machine-learning-in-health-care/


PCCI Makes DCEO’s D500 List for 4th Consecutive Year

PCCI Recognition: D CEO includes PCCI in the 2024 Edition of the Dallas 500

For the fourth year in a row, PCCI’s CEO, Steve Miff, PhD, has been included in the DCEO #D500 list of top leaders in North Texas. The special edition of DCEO profiles the region’s most influential business, civic, and nonprofit leaders. This honor recognizes PCCI’s impactful mission to support the health of the most vulnerable in our communities.
Read more about this honor here: https://lnkd.in/gHamqvKK

Read Dr. Miff’s profile here: https://www.dmagazine.com/sponsored/2021/12/steve-miff-named-among-dallas-500-honorees/

In The News: PCCI fighting back against rising infant mortality rates

PCCI fighting back against rising infant mortality rates

In this DCEO article, PCCI’s Yolande Pengetnze, MD, MS, FAAP, Vice President, Clinical Leadership, was quoted and PCCI (and its partners) were shown as leaders in helping support at-risk, pregnant women in the community – in the wake of new data released by the CDC. This article shows the real, positive impact of the preterm birth prevention program.

Read the article here: https://www.dmagazine.com/healthcare-business/2023/11/texas-is-one-of-four-states-with-increasing-infant-mortality-this-local-organization-is-fighting-back/

A highlight from the article:

Lack of health insurance and access to prenatal care is a significant factor for infant mortality, says Dr. Yolande Pengetnze, a pediatrician at the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation. Other factors that increase infant mortality are social determinants of health, like transportation, healthy food, and childcare.

“When we see the data on infant mortality, an increase in mortality is driven by preterm delivery,” Pengetnze says. “It is mostly babies born at a gestational age of less than 24 weeks.”

PCCI has long been operating a program to target high-risk pregnant women to help them avoid preterm birth, the primary driver of infant mortality. The program helps them connect to prenatal care and overcome other barriers to seeing a provider. The Preterm Birth Intervention Program uses several factors to identify high-risk women signed up through the Parkland Community Health Program, a Medicaid managed care program. These women can sign up to receive text reminders to attend upcoming appointments and other educational interventions to prevent preterm births.

Texas Christian University Magazine features PCCI’s medical breakthroughs

Texas Christian University Magazine features PCCI’s medical breakthroughs

Texas Christian University Magazine features PCCI’s CEO Steve Miff, PhD, in a story about medical breakthroughs in an article titled: “IMAGINING MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGHS: Future doctors design solutions to health care challenges in a groundbreaking program.”

This story features a number of healthcare innovations, including those developed by PCCI, for example:

“If you enroll them in a diabetes-focused program, you might be addressing only one of the multiple things they are dealing with,” Miff said. Health care providers become used to treating problems sequentially, but that becomes a less effective strategy when, say, patients miss appointments because they struggle with issues like transportation or taking time off work.

To read the full story, click here:

PCCI’s Preterm Birth Prevention Program Named A Top Data Analytics Tools for Population Health Management

PCCI’s Preterm Birth Prevention Program Named A Top Data Analytics Tools for Population Health Management

HealthITAnalytics lists PCCI and Parkland Health‘s text-based risk stratification model for preterm birth prevention as a top data tool in a round up of population health management strategies:

“For example, Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI) and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas, have implemented a text message-based patient education program driven by a risk prediction model. The model uses SDOH data to determine clinical and population-level interventions to prevent preterm births.”

To read the full story, click here:


PCCI’s Data Analytics Supports The United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’ Aspirte Untied 2030 Strategy

PCCI is proud that its data analytics supports great causes like the power of the UWMD Aspire United 2030 Strategy – driving measurable impact in education, income, and health. Read from The Dallas Morning News Business Columnist Cheryl Hall on how the UWMD is building digital bridges to keep families connected to technology every day of the year with the support of PCCI’s data science.

Read about this collaboration here:


PCCI Pediatrician: The U.S. preterm birth rate is troubling, but we have proven ways we can help bring pregnancies to term

By Yolande Pengetnze, MD, MS, FAAP, Vice President of Clinical Leadership, PCCI

Recently, the March of Dimes (MOD) released its report card (https://www.marchofdimes.org/peristats/reports/united-states/report-card) that highlights the latest key indicators describing the state of the nation’s maternal and infant health. The MOD gave the U.S. a near failing, D+ grade for its 10.5 percent preterm birthrate.

The rising U.S. preterm birth rate is partly explained by racial/ethnic disparities, with Black women having ~50% higher risk of preterm birth than White women. The single most important intervention to prevent preterm births is adequate prenatal care. Yet one in 5 pregnant Black women and 1 in 4 pregnant American Indian/Alaska Native women do not receive adequate prenatal care.

The high U.S. preterm birth rate, while concerning, can be reduced by closing racial/ethnic and socioeconomic gaps in care through programs that increase access to prenatal care and address non-medical determinants of health (NMDOH, also known as Social Determinants of Health or SDoH). Moreover, widening racial/ethnic disparities in maternal death are partially explained by the same factors that drive preterm birth risk. Therefore, addressing preterm birth risk in a holistic manner has the added benefit of potentially (and positively) impacting maternal mortality.

At PCCI, we’ve developed ways to identify and support at-risk pregnant women in bringing their pregnancies to term. Specifically, to better serve pregnant women in our community, PCCI, the Parkland Community Health Plan (PCHP) and Parkland Health developed and implemented, beginning in 2018,  a novel preterm birth prevention program  that uses a machine learning algorithm, healthcare data, and SDoH to identify pregnant women who are at a higher risk of pre-term birth. The program engages these women through text messages designed to help them better manage their health and proactively seek care during pregnancy.

Our program consistently risk stratifies about 13,000 pregnant women per year by combining clinical, socioeconomic, and demographic indicators from diverse data sources to predict pregnant women who present a high risk for preterm delivery. By predicting preterm birth accurately and in a timely manner, we are able to target patient education and engagement, as well as clinical and population-level interventions to reduce preterm birth rates among low-income Medicaid patients.

As socioeconomic factors and psychosocial stress are increasingly recognized as important drivers of preterm birth risk, PCCI’s risk prediction model paves the way for novel approaches to preterm birth prevention, combining clinical and non-traditional preterm birth prevention interventions addressing NMDOH targeted to high-risk patients.

This ongoing program enables early interventions, including enrolling women in a text education and reminder program that has helped reduce preterm birth rates by 20 percent and has increased prenatal doctor visits by 8-15 percent.

The combination of technology― a predictive model that identifies the most at risk and a risk-driven text messaging program―efficiently reaches expectant mothers where they are in their pregnancy journey. Rather than simply throwing out a broad net for all pregnant women, through our examination of NMDOH elements, we gain a clearer picture of who we need to help and why. This makes interventions much more holistic, effective, and cost efficient.

Through trial and error, we found that simple texting was the best way to reach expectant mothers and provide positive and easy-to-understand messages and reminders to help them to reach term. Examples of texts include:

This innovative yet simple approach for participant management allows us to extend great resources and focus on those who need help the most. In fact, in our quarterly surveys of the program participants, an average of 73% of respondents have agreed this program made them better prepared to take care of themselves and their babies. These results are meaningful not just to the mother and her family, but to the entire community.

It is extremely important to emphasize that while the program itself is innovative, it can be scaled and utilized in just about any community. Preterm birth  is not an issue that we want to simply shrug our shoulders about. Each time we have a premature birth, the costs to the baby, parents, hospital, and ultimately the community can be enormous. The life of a premature baby can be one of hardship and challenge and create lifelong difficulties for the individual, their family, and the society at large. Our collaborative team behind our preterm birth prevention program passionately believes that any preterm birth that can be prevented is a chance for a life to flourish and make a difference in the world.

About Yolande Pengetnze

Yolande Pengetnze, MD, MS, FAAP, is PCCI’s Vice President of Clinical Leadership where she leads multiple projects including population health quality improvement projects focusing on preterm birth prevention and pediatric asthma at the individual and the population level. Dr. Pengetnze received her MD from the University of Yaounde in Cameroon and completed a Pediatric Residency at Maimonides Medical Center in New York. She was a faculty member at UTSW’s General Pediatric Hospitalist Division where she completed a General Pediatric/Health Services Research Fellowship training and earned a Master of Sciences in Clinical Sciences.

News: Interactive dashboard spotlights Dallas County communities with high asthma rates

Interactive dashboard spotlights Dallas County communities with high asthma rates

Parkland, PCCI, DCHHS partner to provide insights for child caregivers

DALLAS –Parkland Health and Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) in collaboration with Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI) launched a new Pediatric Asthma Surveillance System (PASS)* that describes community-level information regarding pediatric asthma risk factors in Dallas County.

The interactive dashboard was developed as part of the pediatric asthma initiative through the Dallas County Community Health Needs Assessment. The overall goal of this surveillance system is to provide current and accurate data to stakeholders interested in planning, developing and deploying pediatric asthma interventions, programs and policy; with this in mind, PASS data sets will be updated regularly hereafter.

“The Pediatric Asthma Surveillance System provides valuable key insights into pediatric asthma vulnerability and the associated clinical, demographic, environmental and social/economic drivers. Being able to drill down to neighborhoods and specific census tracts will provide public health leaders and agencies with data they need to address health disparities in the community and improve pediatric asthma for all,” said Steve Miff, PhD, PCCI’s President.

PASS includes a novel, validated Pediatric Asthma Vulnerability Index, that integrates health and social data insights to identify communities where children have higher vulnerability to poor asthma outcomes and highlight areas of health disparities. It can also predict the probability of a community-level asthma-related emergency department (ED) visit or hospitalization within three months, by incorporating the effect of 10 community indicators such as socioeconomic conditions, demographic characteristics, medication use patterns, health services utilization and environmental conditions, on community-level asthma risk.

“We plan on using the data from PASS to help us strategize outreach into the community,” said Cesar Termulo, MD, Pediatrician and Associate Medical Director at Parkland. “There are many children who might not be aware that they have asthma. They might solely be having a chronic cough or shortness of breath with exercise. Thus, it is important to find those pockets of Dallas County that might have a higher vulnerability to asthma attacks and raise awareness in the community to diagnose those children who have unrecognized asthma.”

At every geographic level, a risk-driven, color-coded map is displayed in the center with demographic data included below the map. The Vulnerability Index and all indicators are categorized as Very High, High, Moderate, Low or Very Low Risk based on their impact on Pediatric Asthma Vulnerability in the community. The user can drill down from the Vulnerability Index view to specific indicator views by clicking on specific indicators of interest or navigating to the “Other Indicators” tab. The user can also navigate the map from a ZIP Code view to a Census Tract view to further analyze microgeographic disparities and can select a specific geography of interest for further analysis.

The PASS is also meant to support Parkland and DCHHS efforts in reducing poor health outcomes related to pediatric asthma and will be used to outreach and engage parents or caregivers to participate in Parkland’s pediatric asthma text notification. Parkland’s asthma text message program is an interactive tool designed to help parents manage their child’s asthma. Parents can sign up by texting @asthma to 844-721-0839 (except for message/data rates, the text program is free to eligible patients). To learn more about the asthma text program, visit, www.parklandhealth.org/asthma-in-children.
Programs like these are made possible thanks to generous donors who help support our patients. If you want to support the program you can do so, at Ways to Give – Donate – Parkland Health Foundation (istandforparkland.org).

For more information about Parkland, visit www.parklandhealth.org.
For more information about PCCI, visit www.pccinnocation.org.

To view the dashboard go to: https://www.dallascounty.org/departments/dchhs/chronic-disease/asthma-control-overview.php

About Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation
Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI), founded in 2012, is a not-for-profit, healthcare innovation organization affiliated with Parkland Health. PCCI leverages clinical expertise, data science and social determinants of health to address the needs of vulnerable populations.

*This work is funded in part by Lyda Hill Philanthropies.


In The News: FierceHealthcare – How providers Parkland is supporting at-risk mothers using a device already in their pockets

FierceHealthcare, a top national healthcare trade publication, has published an article that includes PCCI experts discussing our preterm birth prevention program. The article, “How providers like UAB, Parkland Hospital are supporting at-risk mothers using a device already in their pockets” includes quotes from Dr. Yolande Pengetnze. Read the whole story here: https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/digital-health/providers-utilize-sms-text-messages-tackle-continuing-maternal-health-crisis

Here are highlights of the article:

Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI) and Parkland Hospital in Dallas developed their own program enrolling at-risk patients in a text reminder program. The program’s main goal is decreasing preterm delivery in at-risk pregnant patients. PCCI determined which patients to enroll by using social determinants of health data.

Text messages varied from reminders to arrive at appointments with a list of questions, to take prenatal vitamins and to place seatbelts over the hips instead of the belly. Text reminders changed as patients progressed through pregnancy with notifications in the third month of pregnancy from informing parents that their baby was the size of a peach, to late-term reminders directing patients to ask their doctor about early signs of labor.

PCCI screened 13,000 women for social determinants of health, hypertension, diabetes and mental health risks. Of the enrolled women, preterm delivery decreased by 20%, prenatal doctor visits increased by 8% and costs decreased by 6%.

Yolande Pengetnze, M.D., a pediatrics specialist and program manager of the preterm prevention program, told Fierce Healthcare that 85% of participants preferred texts when receiving prenatal healthcare advice and 74% said the program made them better prepared for parenthood. “We needed a solution that patients could use with one hand because they have a baby in the other,” Pengetnze said.

“A lot of confusing and conflicting information is communicated on social media and that is where patients are going for advice,” Pengetnze said. “The social fabric has changed and people don’t have the same at-home support as they once did. New parents need all sorts of advice from how to feed their baby to what to ask their doctor.”