NEWS RELEASE - FOR
Ms. Karen Storek
Phone: (818) 889-4604
Immunization schedules, the warning signs of preterm labor, recalled toys, poisonous plants, disability information and support services, child abuse prevention hotlines: this is a minute sampling of the items accessible to parents nationwide through the first ever touch screen kiosk made available due to the efforts of the non-profit organization, New Parents Network (NPN), a social and service information provider.
“After our appearance on national television in 1992, which focused on our telecommunications service, we realized there were millions of parents who don’t have computers and modems in their homes. In response to the needs expressed by thousands of parents and professionals, we created a Windows-based software program intended to reach that population through touch screen kiosks located at public sites,” says Karen Storek, founder and CEO of NPN. “New Parents Network functions as a gatherer and disseminator of vital parenting information from the time of pregnancy to the time a child enters first grade.”
The first touch screen kiosks are now being put to use by parents and health care professionals in Tucson, Arizona at Tucson Medical Center (TMC). “We have invested in this unique system in order to provide all parents with valuable, preventative information. We especially appreciate the fact that the software has been designed assuming the user has never used a computer before. Tucson Medical Center sees the service as a tool to help the community as a whole,” states Frank Marini, Project Manager of Information Systems at TMC. “One kiosk is located in the maternity/pediatric waiting room and the other is in a children’s clinic waiting room - both locations can reach patients, nurses and doctors, hospital employees and the general public.”
Users simply touch the screen on a picture of the globe where they are then guided to select a specific state or national-generic information. Categories range in topic from Child Care & Education, Diseases & Disabilities, Health & Nutrition, General Information to Media & Publications, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Product and Child Safety Seat Recall, Safety & Poison Control, and Support Information. After selecting the category of interest users can read, print or view thousands of documents and graphics.
The service is provided free of charge to the public. Funding comes from county health departments, health care systems, libraries and universities that purchase a system-wide license for the software. The software has been designed to be customized to reflect local, and state-wide services as well as universal information. New Parents Network works in alliance with existing agencies that help parents and children, and any social service, support group or government agency that assists new families is encouraged to submit simple information and/or a description of their services to the software, free of charge.
The international appeal of the service provides an opportunity for the software to become multi-lingual and cultural. That fact combined with New Parents Network’s mission to reach all people with useful parenting information through various means such as the Internet and eventually interactive television, make for a powerful, positive force in helping children. “The more knowledgeable a parent is, the better off their child is. New Parents Network is about empowering parents by providing them with crucial, easily accessible information,” says Karen Storek.
New Parents Network is a 501(c3) non-profit organization founded in 1988. Initially providing educational packets of information to maternity patients, New Parents Network evolved into a telecommunications system in 1991 and now focuses on reaching the public through touch screen kiosks. Recently, New Parents Network received donated resources from Internet Direct, Inc. of Arizona to have its own domain on the Internet, as well as a location on the World Wide Web (http://www.indirect.com/www/kstorek/parents.html). New Parents Network was nominated by U.S. Robotics for a 1992 Computerworld Smithsonian award.