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If you’re a parent with a kiddo in the NICU, wouldn’t it be amazing if there was an app on your phone that could help you understand what to expect and allow you to comfortably get answers to your questions without feeling like a burden to the medical staff?

Today’s guest is Dr. Yaya Ren, and with her partner, Dr. Bree Andrews, they have developed an amazing resource for NICU families that will create a shared experience and a connection to the team that is caring for your child.

Dr. Yaya Ren is a medical anthropologist and social entrepreneur who’s passionate about creating systems that nurture meaningful connections in healthcare. Her work has been recognized by the Sloan Foundation Award, National Science Foundation, and many more.

Her and her team have created a technology designed to make parents feel more involved and connected to their medical teams throughout their baby’s NICU journey.

It allows parents to have a shared language with doctors and breaks the journey into important trackable color stages, which can truly make a difference in identifying the progress your baby is making.

Today, she shares with us her best tips on interacting with your baby’s medical team, finding the right community and support, allowing yourself to feel your feelings, and celebrating your child’s overall progress.

She encourages us to speak up for our children’s needs, to be less harsh on ourselves, and to truly find joy in the journey.

Note: the PreeMe + You platform and app are currently only available to patients of select hospitals, but will soon be made available to the general public. If you’re interested in becoming a Beta Tester in your location, email Dr. Yaya Ren at

Key Takeaways with Dr. Yaya Ren

  • How to bring words to your feelings, especially throughout your NICU journey.
  • Using the wisdom obtained from a transformative experience to find a supportive community that can relate.
  • Finding strength in ways you didn’t know you could.
  • Connecting with your baby’s medical team, understanding their work, and being able to provide helpful input and ask important questions.
  • Celebrating the progress but recognizing that the journey has no set path, and can feel like taking three steps forward and two steps back.
  • How the right resources and technology can help you see the bigger picture in your child’s medical journey.
  • Remembering you are not alone, even though feeling disconnected and lonely is perfectly natural.
  • How to find out more about the PreeMe+You app and how it has been helping dozens of families feel more connected.

Dr. Yaya Ren Tweetables

  • “When a traumatic event has happened, who you are is fundamentally transformed. That person has so much wisdom, but you just don’t know exactly what that is yet.” – Yaya Ren
  • “Every single day in the NICU there is something to celebrate.” – Yaya Ren
  • “When you’re going through something so difficult, you get a free pass for everything. Take care of yourself and give yourself permission to feel how you feel.” – Yaya Ren
  • “I think it’s really important to recognize that everybody is at these different stages for different lengths of time. And we wanted to do that so that parents could both celebrate when they’ve moved to another stage, but also recognize that you can go backwards here and there and that it’s okay. It’s a journey.” – Yaya Ren


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