VOL. 113 | NO. 153 | Wednesday, August 11, 1999
P.D. Parrot teaches kids of all ages
about health through puzzles and games
By KATHLEEN BURT
The Daily News
Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. has introduced a new way to meet its three-fold mission statement.
In the past four months, children of all ages have been introduced to a 7-foot, 4-inch feathered creature named P.D. Parrot.
The parrot, known to his friends simply as P.D., has perched at places such as Memphis Redbirds baseball games, childrens festivals, schools and other kid-friendly places to talk and teach about health and safety.
P.D. also has his own Web site at www.pdparrot.org.
On the site, children can download pages to color or games to play. There are tips on topics ranging from fire safety to weather safety to what to do when an accident occurs.
Browsers can read about P.D.s beginnings on a page called "The Hatching," which recounts the story of how Dr. Albright found an egg while on safari in the jungle and brought it home with her.
The doctors and nurses in the pediatric department nurtured the egg until a baby parrot hatched. To thank them for all the kindness they showed him, P.D. decided to teach kids about health and safety.
"Its primarily targeted for 7- to 12-year-olds, but even the younger kids like to get on it and play the games," said Mary Anne McCraw, marketing Web developer for Baptist Memorial Health Care and editor of Baptist OnLine.
"It's been a real big hit with the kids and adults."
Since P.D.'s inaugural flight in March, the site has seen more than 16,000 page requests a month. Requests from the site grow by 25 percent to 30 percent each month, McCraw said.
While browsers can go to P.D.s site directly, there is also a link from the Baptist OnLine site at www.baptistonline.org.
Becky Rodgers is responsible for coordinating for the P.D. Parrot Web site. Scott Williams, director of creative services, adds a strong marketing direction for both Baptist OnLine and P.D. Parrot, McCraw said.
Baptists Web development team in information systems is one of the biggest for a health care system with about eight employees directly involved, she said.
The online health magazine section dealing with childrens health began last fall. Adults can read articles and tips about children's health care in the childrens section of Baptist OnLine and then link to the P.D. Parrot site for their children.
"It's much easier to change and encourage a child's behavior toward healthy living than an adult. They're much more receptive, especially if you catch them very young, about 3 or 4, that's when theyre eager to learn," she said.
After the childrens services aspect was launched, requests began coming in to promote childrens services available at the Baptist hospital in East Memphis.
"The service line director wanted to help promote the children's services out East and in response to that, the marketing department and the womens services department created a mascot called P.D. Parrot," McCraw said.
"This site is specifically for children even though adults love it too. It's a lot more exciting, a lot more visual, a lot brighter, a lot more fun," she said.
But as a trip to Baptist OnLine will reveal, the organization with 17 corporate hospitals in the tri-state area is about much more than P.D. Parrot.
Baptists mission statement is written in keeping with Jesus Christ's three-fold mission to preach, teach and heal, McCraw said.
As part of its use of the Internet to accomplish that mission, Baptist offers other services such as an Internet pastoral care ministry.
Through that site, available at the "services" tab on the Baptist home page, browsers can read daily scriptures or visit with another representative "Buttons the Bear." Buttons teaches kids about Baptist Hospital and offers information to quell fears if they have to have surgery.
Also on the site, people can download special prayers regarding different situations or e-mail prayer requests to a chaplain.
As some of the recent introductions to the Baptist site have launched, the online advisory board has accomplished its list of goals, meaning news goals soon will be set, McCraw said.
Some of those goals include making the site more interactive, allowing browsers to register for classes offered by Baptist, introducing a guest book so those interested can keep abreast of the latest health care news and possibly the introducing moderated chat sessions on health care topics.
"We talk about technology being very cut-and-dried, but were trying to use technology in a very caring and personal way," McCraw said.
"You dont actually touch a patient on a Web site but we can target their health education and we can lead them to services."
The Rev. David Drumel, vice president of pastoral care, and chaplain Anthony Burdick, director of Metro pastoral care, assisted in designing the site.
"Even though we are targeting health care information, we also want to target the whole person and help them become better informed about how they can be successful in life too," she said.
"P.D. Parrot is in keeping with the overall corporate mission and that is part of the big picture community outreach."