Public Health Pediatrics

Programs and Research

The Division of Public Health Pediatrics was established in 2015 in recognition that complex family and community forces play a substantial role in the health and well-being of children. Utilizing a public health framework, the Division of Public Health Pediatrics identifies, implements and evaluates strategies to support early brain development, foster resilience, and prevent and mitigate childhood adversities.

For more information about signing-up for our programs, please visit our upSTART page

Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine are proud to bring programs into the community to help expectant parents and families with young children. Our programs are designed to support children’s early brain and language development, perinatal maternal mental health health,  social drivers of health, and maternal-child health and wellness.

upWORDS is a group-based, early language development program for families with children from birth to 36 months of age. The program consists of 14 one-hour sessions over four months in which caregivers learn how to improve their child’s early language skills. Participants receive a developmental snapshot of their child’s language skills as well as a weekly report which details the amount of conversational turn-taking between an adult and the child and the number of adult words and electronic sounds (e.g., television) the child hears in a block of time. To enroll in a class or to learn more, visit here.

upWORDS2 is offered to parents who have participated in upWORDS and are seeking additional sessions on early brain development and positive parenting.

upWORDS Bridges is offered to upWORDS families who express concerns about a language or developmental delay. Our speech language pathologists and health educators support families in enrolling them in a timely developmental evaluation and provide individual and group support to address language delays.

upLIFT is a home visitation program for women experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety during pregnancy and in the year after giving birth. A licensed social worker meets with the participant in her home or virtually and provides up to eight sessions to support her in learning new tools and strategies to help ease symptoms of depression and anxiety. Pregnant women or women who have delivered a baby in the past year and are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, can contact us at upliftformoms@bcm.edu or 832-826-0440. 

upREACH+ is a short-term perinatal home visitation program to help families prepare to bring home their newborn, support maternal health and well-being during pregnancy and the early postpartum period, and help ensure families have the information, resources, and connections to community resources to promote family wellbeing. In this program, a nurse and a community health worker team meet with the family in the home and/or virtually to provide support and resources. This program is currently being offered to patients at Ben Taub Hospital who receive care in the High-Risk Obstetrics Clinic, lacked prenatal care, or develop high-risk conditions such as hypertension around the time of delivery.

For more information, please contact us at upreachplus@bcm.edu or 346-453-9523.

In collaboration with UT Systems Population Health and Texas Prevention and Early Intervention, the Division developed, pilot-tested and now is disseminating two support tools for pregnant individuals and families.

Family Care Portfolio: The Family Care Portfolio is a tool designed to support pregnant individuals and families with complex social needs. The goal is to strengthen families, support healthy pregnancies and keep children safely at home.

Parenting Action Plan: The Parenting Action Plan is a tool designed to help maternal caregivers of newborns understand and cope with common stressors during an infant’s first few months of life.

Please visit www.txsafebabies.org to access free training and materials from programs and clinics providing services to pregnant individuals and families with young children in Texas.

The Division of Public Health Pediatrics leads and participates in evaluation and research initiatives to better understand how to prevent and mitigate childhood adversities. Research and evaluation efforts include: leading outcome evaluations, case-control studies and randomized control trials to determine the effectiveness of programs that are designed to promote protective factors and to prevent and mitigate childhood adversities; conducting secondary data analyses to understand trends in child health; and participation in a national multi-center research network, CAPNET, that is designed to improve the care and identification of children who have been abused.

The Division of Public Health Pediatrics partners with internal and external partners to identify and implement strategies to support children and families. 

The Harris County Child Fatality Review Team (CFRT): The CFRT is led by the Division of Public Health Pediatrics. The CFRT brings together local partners to review child deaths from a public health perspective in order to identify trends and strategies to decrease preventable child deaths.