September 23, 2005

Grant boosts Nurses for Newborns program

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In this file photo, Nurse Barbara Stewart examines a young patient as part of the Nurses for Newborns program.
photo by Dana Johnson

Grant boosts Nurses for Newborns program

A $245,516 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will provide one-third of the funds needed for Nurses for Newborns of Tennessee (NFNT) to continue operating for the next year.

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper recently announced the national grant.

“I congratulate Nurses for Newborns of Tennessee on this important grant,” Cooper said. “This is a remarkable organization that confronts the problems of infant mortality and child neglect in our community by helping give babies a healthy, safe start in life.”

NFNT is a non-profit agency, nationally headquartered in St. Louis, with a second regional office here in Middle Tennessee. Pat Temple, M.D., professor of Pediatrics at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt and co-director of NFNT, said while most visits are in Davidson County, the organization also serves 19 other counties in the region, including the Clarksville and Ft. Campbell areas.

When families are identified by area health care providers, the organization sends a nurse to make a home visit to new mothers who are at high risk of experiencing serious stress in the first year of their infant's life.

“We have six full-time and 11 part-time, experienced nurses in the Nashville area,” Temple said. “They support families with medically fragile infants and help families learn how to keep their infants safe and healthy. Our nurses are skilled in mother-baby nursing and are available by phone 24 hours a day.”

The families' babies are considered high-risk for medical problems, abuse or neglect because of challenges facing their parents — especially their mothers — including: lack of income, health care and education; mental or physical disability; and/or the young age of the mother.

“The goal is to improve the infant mortality rate in Tennessee,” Temple said. “Right now, Tennessee ranks number 48 in the nation for death of infants within the first year of life. The home visits from NFNT nurses provide support and education of all kinds. The nurses teach CPR and connect the mothers with a medical home. We can help parents realize when they need to utilize services of an emergency room or when medical issues can be taken care of at home. We hope to help teenage moms return to school, delay a second pregnancy and generally have a good start with their baby.”

NFNT was launched in 2001 by former Tennessee Titan Fred Miller and his wife, Kim. There are two major areas served by the larger organization, Missouri and Middle Tennessee. While the Millers have moved away from the area, the organization continues to thrive here.

The organization welcomes support, including monetary donations and needed goods and products. Particularly needed are formula (Similac with iron), non-perishable baby food, diapers, baby wipes, bottles, pacifiers and thermometers.

For additional information on Nurses for Newborns of Tennessee, call 313-9989 or visit