About Us

What is Texas TIPS?

Texas TIPS - An Affiliate of MotherToBaby is a free counseling and information resource for both the general public and healthcare professionals. We provide information regarding potentially harmful exposures (a.k.a. teratogens) during pregnancy or breastfeeding such as prescription medication, nicotine, alcohol, maternal infections or environmental exposures.

This service is funded by the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) under the direction of Dr. Hope Northrup, Professor and Director of the Division of Medical Genetics in the Department of Pediatrics at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston.

Our Team

Dr. Hope Northrup (bio)

Hope Northrup is an M.D. Medical Geneticist (Clinical, Biochemical and Molecular areas) in the Department of Pediatrics at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. She is a Professor and Director of the Division of Medical Genetics in The Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Northrup is the Medical Director of the Genetic Counseling Program and the Director of the Medical Genetics Residency/Fellowship Program. Her clinical interests are metabolic disease and chromosome disorders. Dr. Northrup’s research interests focus on unraveling the basis of neurogenetic diseases, specifically tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) and spina bifida (SB). An additional academic focus of Dr. Northrup is delineating the phenotypes associated with rare chromosome disorders. She provides lectures in Genetic Counseling and Medical Genetics courses and supervises rotating students in their clinical activities.
Dr. Northrup obtained an M.D. degree from the Medical University of South Carolina. She completed a Pediatric Residency at Children’s Medical Center/Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas and a Medical Genetics Fellowship at the Institute for Molecular Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

Myla Ashfaq, MS, CGC (email)

Myla Ashfaq is a genetic counselor and clinical instructor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Genetics at the University of Texas Medical School. In addition to providing telephone teratogen counseling, she provides genetic counseling to families of pediatric patients at Shriners Hospital for Children. She is involved in facilitating courses and supervising students from the University of Texas Genetic Counseling Training Program. She is a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors and is interested in multi-cultural and international genetic counseling.
She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 2005 with a BA in Genetics and received her MS in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling from Stanford University in 2011.

Jennifer Lemons, MS, CGC (email)

Jennifer Lemons is a certified genetic counselor and clinical instructor in the Department of Pediatrics. In addition to providing telephone teratogen counseling, she provides prenatal genetic counseling services at the Harris County Health District community clinics throughout Houston. She works with the University of Texas Genetic Counseling Program students on rotation and helps facilitate coursework. She is a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors.
Jennifer graduated from Purdue University in 2007 with a BS in Biology and received her MS in Medical Genetics from the University of Cincinnati in 2011.

Goals*

  • Provide counseling to patients and health care professionals about exposures related to pregnancy and breastfeeding, so they can make informed treatment choices.
  • Reduce risks and decrease the number of preventable birth defects by educating the public and health care professionals about specific agents of concern.
  • Empower patients with accurate information about the true risks of an exposure, thereby preventing unnecessary terminations of wanted pregnancies.

*As a teratogen information service, Texas TIPS shares the same goals as MotherToBaby, a service of the non-profit Organization of Teratology Information Services (OTIS).