March 2, 2010

Tennessee Begins New Effort to Change State's High Infant Mortality Rates

Tennessee Begins New Effort to Change State’s High Infant Mortality Rates

A unique, wide-ranging group of national and state leaders will meet next week to find ways to reduce the alarming number of newborns dying in Tennessee.

The challenges facing Tennessee’s mothers and infants are sobering. The state ranks 45th in the nation for prematurity and again received an “F” on the March of Dimes annual report card, with a preterm birth rate of 14.7 per 1,000 births. Tennessee’s pre-term birth rate increased by 13 percent from 1995 to 2005.

The Tennessee Initiative for Perinatal Quality Care (TIPQC) is bringing together physicians, nurses, hospital administrators, insurance companies, families, legislators and community groups March 3-4 at the Marriott Cool Springs in Franklin. The progress of ongoing infant mortality initiatives will be discussed, and new statewide projects will be chosen.

In addition, a Tennessee family, the Nelsons, will offer compelling firsthand accounts of the difficulty of premature births and lengthy stays in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

The conference begins at 8:15 a.m. on Wednesday, March 3. Sessions will focus on information from statewide NICUs, with topics such as a NICU Temperature Project report and NICU safety.

The program continues on Thursday, March 4, from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m., with various sessions on late- and pre-term birth.

TIPQC, funded by a grant from the Governor’s Office of Children’s Care Coordination, launched in October 2008. Its goal is to engage providers across the perinatal spectrum in statewide, evidence-based and data-driven quality improvement projects. For more information, visit or call Brenda Barker at 775-4751.