April 28, 2022

VUMC named BEST for Babies hospital by TDH

Vanderbilt University Medical Center once again was named as a BEST for Babies hospital by the Tennessee Department of Health.


by Jessica Pasley

Vanderbilt University Medical Center once again was named as a BEST for Babies hospital by the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH).

The award recognizes labor and delivery, nursery and post-partum service efforts to reduce infant mortality utilizing Breastfeeding, Early elective delivery reduction and Safe sleep for Tennessee babies (BEST).

VUMC is one of 10 Tennessee birthing hospitals named for the 2021 award cycle.

Anna Morad, MD

“This award reflects the hard work of our obstetric and pediatric teams,” said Anna Morad, MD, associate professor of Pediatrics and and director, Newborn Nursery at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

“We consistently have excellent breastfeeding initiation rates and very low early elective C-section rates. The newborn nursery recently completed a yearlong quality improvement project with Tennessee Initiative for Perinatal Quality Care (TIPQC) to improve safe sleep for infants in our hospital.”

The project, led by Melissa Hill, RN, also earned a TIPQC Gold Quality Award.

“We hope that the additional emphasis on safe sleep will lead to fewer infant deaths from unsafe sleep in our community,” added Morad.”

In 2020, Tennessee’s infant mortality rate of 6.3 deaths per 1,000 live births exceeded the national rate of 5.6 deaths per 1,000 live births, according to the TDH.

Sleep-related deaths account for approximately 20% of all infant deaths each year, with unsafe sleep environments being the third leading cause of death in Tennessee.

“Breastfeeding is a protective factor against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and offers other benefits for the mother and the baby’s overall health,” said Morad. “If we continue to focus on these efforts, then we can increase the number of babies celebrating their first birthday.”

BEST award hospitals met the following criteria:

  • Increase the breastfeeding initiation rate by 5% or more in a year or have a breastfeeding initiation rate of 8.2% or higher.
  • Have an early elective delivery rate of 5% or less.
  • Have either the Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification or a safe sleep policy that meets current American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines as well as submitted crib audits to TDH with a minimum of 90% of cribs considered safe.