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Infant mortality initiative’s achievements recognized

Mar. 28, 2013, 8:57 AM

Vanderbilt leaders of the Tennessee Initiative for Perinatal Quality Care (TIPQC), from left, Judy Aschner, M.D., Peter Grubb, M.D., and Brenda Barker. (photo by Anne Rayner)

The recognition of three Vanderbilt-based leaders of the Tennessee Initiative for Perinatal Quality Care (TIPQC) caps off the collaboration’s highly successful first five years of work.

Judy Aschner, M.D., Julia Carell Stadler Professor of Pediatrics and director of the Division of Neonatology, was awarded the State Commissioner of Health’s Outstanding Service Award, along with Brenda Barker, TIPQC’s project director and improvement adviser.

Earlier in the year, TIPQC Medical Director Peter Grubb, M.D., associate professor of Pediatrics and medical director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), accepted the Tennessee Commissioner of Health’s Leadership Award.

TIPQC is a statewide consortium of NICU staff, obstetric and pediatric specialists who build programs to reduce infant mortality and improve neonatal health care. TIPQC members work together on projects to determine, through evidence-based medicine, how to help Tennessee babies be born healthy and stay that way.

Aschner — who is leaving Vanderbilt this spring to become chair of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and physician-in-chief of the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore — founded the program in 2007, building strong collaborative ties with others in neonatal and maternal health, bringing providers together from multiple Tennessee health care facilities to improve the quality of care for newborns.

Among the group’s achievements is the reduction of elective deliveries before 39 weeks of gestation — from 15 percent of all births to just 4 percent. In that effort, TIPQC joined forces with the March of Dimes, the Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Hospital Association to ask hospitals, obstetricians and expectant mothers to work to avoid early elective deliveries whenever possible.

In another TIPQC initiative, participating NICUs across the state worked together to increase breast milk feeding in hospitalized newborns by 20 percent. TIPQC also joined nationwide efforts to reduce central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSI) through projects rolled out in NICUs across the state.

The group’s annual meeting this winter included observers from 10 other states, indicating the consortium is serving as a model as more initiatives like TIPQC form nationwide.

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