Governor Bredesen Hosts Infant Mortality Summit

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Memphis - Gov. Phil Bredesen joined Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton and more than 200 stakeholders from state and county government, and legislative, not-for profit, education, faith-based and the health care communities today to develop and outline a strategy to address infant mortality in Shelby County.

Infant mortality refers to the death of a live-born infant at any point before the first year of life. In 2004, Shelby County’s infant mortality rate (the number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births) of 12.8 was 48.8 percent greater than Tennessee’s rate of 8.6. For seven of the last 10 years, Shelby County has had the highest infant mortality rate in the state.

“While this summit is taking place in Memphis, one to two babies under one year of age may die in Tennessee, and there’s a good chance one or both of them will be in Shelby County,” said Gov. Bredesen. “Making a meaningful difference in modifying behaviors, lifestyles and conditions that affect birth outcomes will take community collaboration. There is something every single family member, neighbor and friend can do to help combat infant mortality.”

"This situation is urgent and for that reason, the summit will be a true ‘working’ summit. We have held numerous sessions throughout the Shelby County community to ascertain precisely what hurdles must be overcome and what resources are required to do so,” said Mayor Wharton.

“We realize that any successful solution will involve multiple disciplines and have met with the faith-based, medical and social work sectors of our community. Everyone who participates in this summit will leave with a clear plan for a concrete course of action.”

Overall, Tennessee’s infant mortality rate is one of the worst in the nation, ranking 48th compared to other states. Only Louisiana (49) and Mississippi (50) have worse infant mortality rates. The infant mortality rate for Tennessee’s African-American babies is more than two-and-a-half times the rate for white babies.

Factors that can increase the risk of infant mortality include low birth weight (babies weighing less than five pounds, eight ounces); a mother’s lack of high school diploma or equivalent; a mother’s lack of prenatal care and/or use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs; and improperly placing babies on their stomachs to sleep.

However, planned and properly spaced pregnancies, early and regular prenatal care, breastfeeding, strong family support, regular exercise, avoidance of alcohol and drugs, women of child-bearing age knowing to take folic acid, and safe sleep practices are essential components in reducing infant mortality.

Also, racial disparities exist in infant mortality. African-American babies are twice as likely to die before their first birthday as white babies, and black mothers are also twice as likely to receive inadequate or no prenatal care as white mothers.

Further, black infants die more than twice as often as white infants from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which is associated with poor sleep practices for babies.

“For the last few years in Tennessee, at least 680 babies died before their first birthday,” said Health Commissioner Kenneth S. Robinson, M.D. “The Department of Health is committed to addressing the prevalence of infant mortality and significantly reducing its rate in Tennessee.”

The Governor’s Office of Children’s Care Coordination, the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet and the state Department of Health continue to explore and develop new partnerships and collaborations with other state governmental agencies; local, municipal and county governments; community-based organizations; and business and faith-based communities that share the vision of seeing more babies survive to their first birthdays.


Grocery Bar Hosts Fall Family Event To Benefit Inaugural CureSearch Cancer Walk In Chattanooga

The Southside’s Grocery Bar hosted a fall celebration event to raise funds and awareness for the upcoming CureSearch for Children’s Cancer Walk Chattanooga. Many area Chattanoogans enjoyed the beautiful weather on Saturday painting free pumpkins, and enjoying freshly-prepared organic foods such as pumpkin muffins, Halloween cookies and hot cider. Shoppers were offered the chance ... (click for more)

Bradley County EMS Reviews And Drills For Infectious Diseases

With the growing concerns of infectious disease, Bradley County EMS is being proactive and reviewing their infectious disease protocols. Current policies and procedures are being reviewed and updated. Personal protection equipment has been updated as well to provide the best protection to the EMS responders. Emergency responders are exposed to a variety of contaminates on ... (click for more)

2 People Shot Saturday Night On Carousel Road

Two people were shot Saturday evening on Carousel Road. At  9:11 p.m. , Chattanooga Police responded to 1406 Carousel Road on a call of a person shot. One victim on the scene suffered minor injuries.  Another victim was transported by personal vehicle to a local hospital. The s econd victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries.  The suspect ... (click for more)

Teenager Killed In ATV Accident Thursday Night

Damon Lee Jones, 15, was killed Thursday night in an ATV accident in Walker County. It was reported he was riding with a 17-year old, when they tried to enter a church parking lot, but ran into a cable barrier. The accident happened on Dunwoody Road in LaFayette. The other rider, identified as Timothy J. Wallin, was not injured.   (click for more)

Tom Dugan Was A Good Man

Tom was my boss for most of my 36 years at Carta.  At the ceremony where I was awarded my 30-year service award, Tom said, "Don disagrees with 85% of my decisions, but I wish I had 80 more employees just like him." This kind of indicates our relationship. When I asked him to help with my plans for a reunion for the group of Veterans that I served with in Vietnam, he quickly ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: More Sunday Funnies

On the last Sunday before Daylight Savings Time disappears next week, let’s go to my jokes back for some grins and giggles: * * * An old gentleman was on the operating table awaiting surgery and he insisted that his son-in-law, a renowned surgeon, perform the operation.  As he was about to get the anesthesia, he asked to speak to his son-in-law. “Yes, Dad, what is ... (click for more)