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 1 in 7 infants, a 17% increase from 1996 to 2006, and the state’s infant mortality rate is nearly a third higher than the national average.
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 Cool Springs Marriott 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.
On Wednesday night, a gubernatorial forum from 7-9 p.m. includes bipartisan participation of candidates running for governor of Tennessee. This forum is open to the public and will be held in the Salon 5 Ballroom at the Marriott Cool Springs, 700 Cool Springs Boulevard in Franklin. Candidates will be given an opportunity to speak to the healthcare community, answer pre-submitted questions and, if time allows, take questions from the floor.
The program continues at the Cool Springs Marriott on Thursday, March 4, from 8:15 a.m.-5 p.m., with various sessions on late- and pre-term birth. From noon-1:30 p.m., TIPQC will host a legislative forum in which Tennessee lawmakers will discuss health-care policy and the role of the Legislature in promoting improvements in infant and maternal health. Those scheduled to appear include state senators Rusty Crowe, Randy McNally, Doug Henry, and Diane Black; and state representatives Brenda Gilmore, Mike Stewart , Beth Harwell and Debra Maggart.
“We’re particularly excited to have the candidates and legislative leaders join us at this year’s meeting. We need their perspectives and insights on government’s roles in healthcare if we are going to improve the results our system delivers,” said Dr. Peter Grubb, the Medical Director of TIPQC.
Media crews are welcome to attend any events. Please contact Brenda Barker, TIPQC Project Manager, at 615-775-4751.
The Tennessee Initiative for Perinatal Quality Care, 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.