published Thursday, June 16th, 2011

UT suspends infant mortality reduction programs

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee has halted programs in Memphis and Chattanooga aimed at reducing infant mortality rates amid an internal audit.

The Memphis program, called The Blues Project, was started seven years ago by the UT Health Science Center to address the city’s high death rate among infants. There are about 100 women and teenagers currently enrolled in the program, which has aided about 1,000 people to date, according to The Commercial Appeal.

It was expanded to Chattanooga, which also has a high infant mortality rate, last year with a $1.7 million grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation.

Kimberly Lamar directs the Memphis program and says she didn’t know about its suspension until a health clinic called her Monday. Pregnant teens and women continued showing up at local health clinics Monday, but were turned away.

“If they cared about these women, they wouldn’t have just terminated services immediately,” Lamar said. “What about these moms? What about these babies?

“Some of these women have domestic-violence issues,” Lamar added. “They depend on my staff.”

UT Health Science Center spokeswoman Sheila Champlin confirmed the program suspension, calling it regrettable but unavoidable.

“It’s really to preserve the scientific integrity of the study and to answer questions about the execution of the study,” Champlin said.

The program provided education, counseling and support to pregnant teens, mothers and fathers. It helped expectant mothers reduce stress, access prenatal care and become independent.

The program also referred women to other community resources for problems such as domestic violence and depression. Its workers followed mothers from pregnancy until children reached age 2.

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement
400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.