News and Stories from the Texas Medical Community


Dell Children’s Uses New Technology for Wellness and Obesity

By on January 7, 2013 in Central Texas, Featured with 0 Comments

Dr. Stephen Pont, medical director, Dell Children’s Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity, demonstrates to Kelly Matthews, 8, some of the new health apps developed for the Dell Streak 7 tablet.  Photo: Ed Lallo/Newsroom Ink

by Ed Lallo/Newsroom Ink

Wearing a medical mask and dragging an IV cart, 10-year old Madeline Gambrell entered the crowded room followed closely by her masked six-year old sister Savannah and father George. She and her sister immediately sat at a table filled with Dell’s latest tablet and began playing the Coloring Bratz Dolls game.

When asked if she ever used the tablet before, Gambrell who along with her sister are patients at Dell Children’s Medical Center being treated for Cystic Fibrosis, said “No, but I have an iPad at home.”

Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, a member of the Seton Healthcare Family, is one of 24 organizations in the United States benefiting from Dell, Inc. Powering the Possible technology and a funding grant to support health and wellness among young patients.

Wearing a medical mask and dragging an IV cart, 10-year old Madeline Gambrell (l) and her six-year old sister (r) Savannah and father George play  on Dell’s latest tablet. Both girls are patients at Dell Children’s being treated for Cystic Fibrosis. Photo: Ed Lallo/Newsroom Ink

The $80,000 grant to the Seton Healthcare Family hospital includes a donation of 65 Dell Streak 7 tablets, which were recently introduced in the outpatient and inpatient settings at Dell Children’s.

“Incorporating Dell technology into our programs allows us to maximize every moment we have with out patients, to help them gain as much as possible from their clinic visit,” said Dr. Stephen Pont, medical director at Dell Children’s Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity. “The tablet offers a convenient resource for patients to access information on nutrition, exercise, and mental health— three important components in supporting healthy lifestyles. Patients and families in our weight management clinic have really enjoyed the tablets and the addition of this technology will help more patients engaged in health and wellness information.”

With a little help from mom, even the youngest Dell Children’s patient was able to play on the new tablets donated to the hospital by Dell, Inc.  Photo:  Ed Lallo/Newsroom Ink

According to Dr. Pont, the issue of obesity has become a very hot topic nationwide.  He praises New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s announcement banning 32-ounce soft drinks as a groundbreaking effort to help take pounds off of the city’s citizens.  “We are facing an obesity epidemic and we need to take bold step,” said Dr. Pont.  “If this works for New York I hope other cities will follow.”

Dr. Pont also finds the recent joint announcement of the Walt Disney Company and Health and Human Services Director Kathleen Sebelius, as another important step in the fight of obesity, especially childhood obesity.

Disney, which is the operator of  theme parks as well as a cable television network, in an effort to create a healthier image will no longer accept junk food advertising aimed at the young.  Dr. Pont commends the company’s efforts, “Ads that make kids crave Spiderman Mac and Cheese not only make kids want the unhealthy product, but there is also the subtle approach that drives them to eat more while watching TV.”

Dell’s tablets used by the hospital’s Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity are pre-programmed with games and wellness resource apps to empower children with health information and encourage them to take steps to improve their well-being. For patients admitted in the hospital, games on the tablets help ease children’s fears and anxieties. Funding from the grant also helps expand the reach of Dell Children’s health and wellness programs.  Dr. Pont explained “in the next phases of this project we plan to use technology developed through this grant to reach our patients between visits too.”

Veronica Rodriguez (l) and Dell Children’s patient Jennifer Marquez, 8, explore the games and apps aimed at healthier living. Photo: Ed Lallo/Newsroom Ink

Dell’s Powering the Possible grant program aims to close the technology gap between the “haves” and “have nots” by placing Dell technology in underserved communities while working with non-profit organizations to teach information and technology skills to power lifelong learning.

Trisa Thompson, vice president of corporate responsibility at Dell, remarked, “Every child should have an opportunity to develop his or her potential through technology access. Our investment reflects our belief that non-profit organizations can identify and respond to the needs of their communities using technology. We know that we can change the lives of children who participate.”

More than 20,000 young people in Texas, Washington DC, California, Illinois, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Georgia and Florida will have access to state-of-the-art technology as a result of Dell’s Powering the Possible program.


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