Memphis, TN – Infant mortality rates in the Southeast are staggering. The highest rate of infant mortality is Louisiana, followed by Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia, West Virginia, Alabama, Florida and North Carolina. In Tennessee, 7 out of 1,000 live births don't see their first birthday. AND the rate is twice that for African Americans. The University of Tennessee Health Science Center has partnered with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee to create the Blues Project intended reduce infant mortality rates throughout Shelby County.
The Blues Project is housed at three Memphis clinics. It's a program for expectant mothers to ensure the survival of their babies through education, employment and removing social barriers linked to adverse child health outcomes. Dr. Kimberly Lamar, University of Tennessee Assistant Professor and Study Coordinator of the Blues Project says that they are already seeing positive results.
Emily Connell is a Social Worker and Counselor for the Blues Project. She works with pregnant women and new mothers individually and in group settings.
The Blues Project is now recruiting pregnant women into the program to mitigate the socioeconomic impacts of poverty, race, crime, lack of education and job skills to ensure that each child makes it to his or her 2nd birthday. Dr. Kimberly Lamar says they expect to enroll 760 expectant mothers over the next year. To find out how, visit any of the following clinics:
Memphis Health Center and
Christ Community Health Services Centers in Frayser and on Third Street.