The Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS) is made up of clinicians and researchers who answer inquiries from women and providers who have questions about exposures during pregnancy or breastfeeding. OTIS came to PMG with the desire to grow, but with a lack of state funding for its services and no federal funding. PMG staff was inspired by the mission and worked with the leaders to elevate the services offered to gain recognition from federal funding sources.
Two years after OTIS entered management with Parthenon Management Group (PMG), they were awarded a multi-million-dollar, multi-year federal grant through HRSA. The project has twice since been extended, successfully re-applied for, and awarded. The Maternal and Child Environmental Health Network is a cooperative agreement where OTIS/MotherToBaby has been working to decrease maternal and child morbidity and mortality associated with pre-and post-natal environmental exposures. OTIS has successfully increased the number of exposures that they counsel on by 181% since 2014 when federal funding was awarded.
In 2016, to better reach our demographic, especially those who are in a vulnerable population, we launched a free texting service utilizing pilot project funds received as part of our cooperative agreement from the Health Services and Resources Administration (HRSA). Adding texting was a major change for the OTIS/MotherToBaby members, who had mainly been counseling over the telephone and had been used to one primary way of relaying evidence-based information from studies. Expanding the availability of teratogen counseling (exposures during pregnancy that cause birth defects) through text and chat messaging technology, adding night and weekend hours, along with the addition of our mobile app, has allowed us to dramatically increase the number of people that OTIS can reach, including under-served populations who have not traditionally used us as a resource.
- Chats have increased 63%, phone calls have decreased 30%,
- Since we began texting, it has increased 70% from when we first started it, in terms of the number of contacts received that way.
- OTIS affiliates (MotherToBaby services) have been able to increase their staffing by 32% in the number of FTE’s.
- The Network has increased the number of Spanish counselors from two to seven, assuring that every Spanish speaking pregnant woman, woman contemplating pregnancy, and health care providers can easily reach a Spanish-speaking OTIS/MotherToBaby counselor.
PMG is honored to partner with this remarkable organization addressing health disparities by increasing the number of counseling contacts from under-served and vulnerable populations and serving women in this way around the country.