November 21, 2003

Birthing Center returned to community

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E.O. Wilson, left, talks with Dr. Steven G. Gabbe, center, dean of the School of Medicine, and Richard C. McCarty, dean of the College of Arts and Science. Neil Brake

Birthing Center returned to community

It’s been just under five years since the School of Nursing opened the East End Women’s Health and Birthing Center with a grant from the Kellogg Foundation, and the time has come to give the clinic back to the community where it has grown over the years.

The Kellogg Foundation gave funding to open several birthing centers across the state to create a network of service and options to underserved women in Tennessee, to give them the option of having a birth experience outside of a hospital setting. The funding allowed VUSN to open East End Women’s Health and Birthing Center at 205 South 10th Street in East Nashville, with 4,000 square feet, three birthing rooms, three exam rooms, and a counseling and educational area in December 1999. Since then, the center has helped women deliver some 126 babies, receive prenatal care and education, and provide well-woman care unrelated to pregnancy.

Over the past year and a half, East End Women’s Health and Birthing Center has been operated and staffed through a contract with Maternity Center Management Services Organization, a Kellogg-funded organization. Vanderbilt has continued to maintain ownership of the assets of the center, but will now be relinquishing ownership and handing the clinic over to the community.

“Our experience with birth centers through the Kellogg grant has taught us that in order for these organizations to thrive and develop, they must have a strong bond with the community which they serve,” said Pam Jones, MSN, director of the Kellogg Birthing Center Project and Instructor in Clinical Nursing. “Vanderbilt has an ongoing commitment to support the valuable services that this center provides.

“In this spirit, we are transferring ownership of the center to the community-based board of the Maternity Center Management Services Organization that has managed the center for nearly two years,” Jones added.

The arrangements should be finalized by the end of the month, pending state approval. n