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Grant funds home-visiting services for new mothers who live in poverty

Contributed • Jan 17, 2020 at 6:38 PM

A grant totaling nearly $5 million over the next four years will fund evidence-based BSN-RN home visiting services for first-time mothers who live in poverty in nine Northeast Tennessee counties.

The Tennessee Department of Human Services awarded the grant to East Tennessee State University’s Nurse-Family Partnership program, which provides services to women living in Johnson, Carter, Unicoi, Washington, Sullivan, Hawkins, Hancock, Greene and Cocke counties. Mothers in this program receive services from prenatal care through age 2 of their child.

“Nurse-Family Partnership is a nationally renowned program that has been in practice across the country since the early 1970s,” said Dr. Patricia Vanhook, professor and associate dean in ETSU’s College of Nursing.

“The NFP is noted as 2-Gen (a two-generation) program that enhances health and economic outcomes for the mom, infant and the family. The overall goal is a healthy mom, healthy baby and transition from poverty.”

The program is available for free and on a volunteer basis to low-income, pregnant, first-time moms in the participating counties. Through the program, a registered nurse is assigned as a case manager for each of the participating women, making weekly visits during pregnancy and on a regular basis once the child is born.

ETSU Nurse-Family Partnership began in October 2016, with admission of their first moms in January 2017. The program has served 300 women since its inception. In 2019, they received 85 referrals, 46 new clients, and saw the birth of 31 healthy babies through the program.

NFP research demonstrates that participants in this program have a 48% reduction in child abuse and neglect, 67% less behavioral/intellectual problems at age 6, 79% reduction in preterm delivery for women who smoke, 50% reduction in emergency room visits for accidents and poisonings, 82% increase in months employed, and 59% reduction in teen arrests at age 15.

To learn more about eligibility or for more information, call Julie Shoemaker, RN, BSN at 423-439-6066

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