Chapter Award Grant to Help Hispanic Mothers and Babies

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The March of Dimes Tennessee Chapter is advancing maternal and infant health in Memphis by supporting the Children’s Foundation Research Center at UTHSC.

The March of Dimes Tennessee Chapter is advancing maternal and infant health in Memphis by supporting the Children’s Foundation Research Center at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. The Children’s Foundation Research Center (CFRC) has partnered with the Memphis and Shelby County Health Department to implement a prenatal education program with Latinas. This effort is designed to support healthy behaviors and encourage early prenatal care.

Titled “Comenzando bien” (translated, “beginning well”), the prenatal curriculum was developed by the March of Dimes in partnership with the National Alliance for Hispanic Health. The program is being implemented at the Hickory Hill Public Health Clinic, which serves a large Hispanic population. The curriculum reinforces cultural values and supports healthy lifestyles during pregnancy. Topics include the importance of early prenatal care, healthy nutrition practices (including folic acid), and avoiding alcohol, drugs, and tobacco. Evaluation measures are related to knowledge changes, as well as the timing of prenatal care and number of prenatal visits kept.

Marian Levy, DrPH, RD, associate director, Health Promotion and Grants Management for the CFRC and UT assistant professor, states, “We are grateful that successful fundraising efforts, such as WalkAmerica, make it possible for the March of Dimes to support efforts to help more babies be born healthy in Shelby County. These grants are one way the March of Dimes pursues its mission of preventing birth defects and infant mortality. ”

In addition to the Children’s Foundation Research Center at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, other Tennessee Chapter 2005 grant recipients include Child & Family, Tennessee in Knoxville; Chattanooga Hamilton County Health Department; ETSU, Family Practice in Bristol; ETSU College of Nursing, Johnson City; Nashville Metro Health Department; SMART Moms- a statewide smoking cessation program; and U.T. Medical Center, Knoxville.

Each week in the state of Tennessee, 205 babies are born prematurely. In 2002-2004, the March of Dimes invested more than $1,556,510 in Tennessee for program services, including national research grants, community grants, and local public and professional education. Through these grants, the March of Dimes is seeking ways to prevent birth defects and infant mortality, find the causes of preterm birth, and increase access to prenatal care and educate men and women about having healthy babies.

The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality. Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes funds programs of research, community services, education, and advocacy to save babies and in 2003 launched a campaign to address the increasing rate of premature birth. For more information, visit the March of Dimes Web site at marchofdimes.com or its Spanish Web site at nacersano.org.