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UTM initiative receives grant for $706,000

UTM initiative receives grant for $706,000

UTM initiative receives grant
for $706,000

The State of Tennessee Department of Health recently awarded the University of Tennessee at Martin’s Healthy Families Initiative (HFI) a $706,000 grant for a three-year period. The project will target women and at-risk children from Dyer, Lake and Lauderdale counties.
The initiative aims to increase the number of healthy pregnancies and births in at-risk communities by responding to the diverse needs of children and families, and to create supportive partnerships at the federal, state and community levels. The UT Martin initiative is modeled after the Healthy Families of America home-visitation program.
The three-county service area was determined based on multiple risk factors, such as high teen birth rates, high rates of child poverty and limited access to adequate health care. The percentage of children living in poverty in each of the three chosen counties exceeds the Tennessee average of 26.3 percent.
According to Dr. Joey Melhorn, interim chair of the UT Martin Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, “the HFI project will develop a directory of community resources with current contact information for the use of participants, case managers and community service providers.”
“These targeted counties are a resource desert in regard to providing child-development services for teen mothers,” added Angela O’Brien, project director. “This program initiative will provide sustaining resources for these young mothers and their families.”
One major goal is for mothers enrolled in the program to begin to adopt proper prenatal, perinatal and early childcare practices. The information will be shared with their friends and relatives, further extending the initiative’s reach and addressing many of the high-risk factors that endanger babies, toddlers and young children, as well as young mothers.
UT Martin has been serving West Tennessee through its children and family programs since 1976.
The project is funded under an agreement with the state of Tennessee.
For more information, contact O’Brien at 731-881-7915 or by email at aobrien@utm.edu.

Published in The WCP 3.12.13

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