A Virtual Safety Net
Living in rural areas can be isolating. Access to transportation, services, and community resources can be limited, exacerbating other challenges faced by women of color to have healthy pregnancies, births, and postpartum experiences.
Texas State University professor Melinda Villagran, Ph.D., and other TSU faculty thought technology could be used to connect rural women to maternal health resources, while facilitating collaboration among health and social service agencies in Caldwell and Hays counties.
Professor, Texas State University
Funding the system
Networx text messages serve as touchpoints for women in rural Hays and Caldwell counties. The free service highlights available resources geared specifically for underserved women, in addition to health information for mothers and their families, and invitations to free or low-cost community events. All of the messages include links to the Networx website, a clearinghouse of community resources in the region.
Improving health outcomes
Villagran notes, “Technology enabled us to reach women and moms in a way that was never before possible. The connections we’ve created are game-changers in meeting the needs of our area’s underserved women,” many of whom are women of color.
“Through access to information, three in five pregnancy-related health problems are preventable.”
“Connecting rural, isolated women to information was our goal, and we’re using technology to do that,” Villagran explains.
“Through Networx, we’ve created a community of access,” she said, “a virtual safety net that expands women’s reach and ability to help themselves and their families.”
Networx also brings together numerous community resources through its website so that mothers have access to useful information about helping agencies. These include resources for food supplies, healthcare and baby care, finances, fitness, counseling and relationships, and continuing education – services through which women can improve the well-being of their families.
that we’re partners in motherhood.”
“We’re curators of local resources and information. Again, we’re connecting women to the services their families need,” Villagran says. “We’re telling moms — through every text — that we’re partners in motherhood.”
– Family Violence/Sexual Assault Advocate in San Marcos
Learn more about Networx.