Pediatric Response to Psychosocial Stressors During the COVID-19 Pandemic




Bui, Priya
Fernandez, Jazmin
Singhal, Juhi
Garcia, Joanna
Chor, Holy
Villarreal, Marcus
Petrus-Jones, Michael


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Purpose: Due to the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) Pediatrics Clinic reduced the number of in-person visits starting in March of 2020. In response to a rise in child abuse-related fatalities in Tarrant County, the Pediatric Mental Health Calls (PMHC) Program was created with the goal of checking-in and providing support for patients at the UNTHSC Pediatrics Clinic and their caregivers. Methods: A list of patients from the UNTHSC Pediatrics Clinic is uploaded onto a database called REDCap. Call scripts are designed to standardize telephone conversations and evaluate mental and physical well-being during isolation. Medical and physician assistant (PA) students from UNTHSC are recruited and trained as volunteers. A UNTHSC Pediatric Clinic manager/licensed vocational nurse contacts patients that desire to speak with a provider in order to schedule an in-person appointment or virtual visit. Results: There have been 110 medical student and physician assistant volunteers that have participated in calling patients in this program. During the timeframe of April to November of 2020, there were a total of 2,338 patients called. Out of these patients, 262 of them requested to speak to a provider. Conclusion: Goals for the program include continuing to collect data, adding new patients to the database, and editing the call script to reflect changes. Future research plans are to identify rates of anxiety and depression among teenagers and postpartum mothers in social isolation.