A Vanderbilt University Medical Center News and Public Affairs Publication GIVING / CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL / VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY
Vanderbilt Childrens Hospital
... on their way

In this issue: SUMMER 2010

Welcome letter
Big dreams for tiny babies
The thrill of discovery
A joint effort
Born too soon
The nature of nurture
Steeplechase benefits Children's Hospital
Friends and fashion



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Tennessee child health in the spotlight

By Sarah Plumridge / June 2010

Nashville Public Television debuted a new documentary series, “NPT Reports: Children’s Health Crisis,” in February. The seven-part series is exploring the challenges children in Tennessee face by in leading healthy lives, including a survey of the central problems such as infant mortality, prenatal care, the obesity epidemic and mental wellness. Much of the documentary was filmed at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, and will include interviews with physicians and patients.

“In surveying many of the statistics regarding children’s health in Tennessee, obesity and infant mortality rates seemed the most alarming to me. That we had infant mortality rates in certain counties in Tennessee that were higher than some third-world countries was unconscionable. I knew we had to shine a very bright light on it,” said Beth Curley, president and chief executive officer of NPT.

“We knew raising awareness of the statistics wasn’t enough, though. We had to also offer solutions. This is a daily fight for the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, so we knew their insight and support for our project was invaluable, and that together with our other partners and supporters, our project could quickly become Nashville’s project.”

Over the past several months, Children’s Hospital and other community organizations have been working with NPT on raising awareness about infant mortality and prematurity through the next episode of the documentary series. The program discusses why Tennessee is behind the national average for infant mortality rates.

With advancements in medicine and neonatal care infants that would not have lived are surviving, but the number of infants born prematurely and in poor health is increasing.

“More babies are being born too small, too early, and that has lasting long consequences for that child’s health and for their children’s health. Everyone should be outraged by the number of babies that die before they reach their first birthday, but the things you don’t see are the long lasting complications,” Pedigo said.

The NPT crew has been spending time at Children’s Hospital not only talking to doctors about medical issues, but also about social issues. The program explores aspects of health disparities that are wrapped up in infant mortality, such as geographic locations and across education, racial and socioeconomic levels.

“These issues are not just Tennessee issues; they are not just Nashville issues they are U.S. issues. The U.S., even in its best performing state, is still not hitting the benchmarks that we could. So these are really issues that no one is immune from,” producer Will Pedigo said.

The episode about prematurity and infant mortality aired June 24 at 8 p.m., CDT. The full program and additional content will be available online at www.wnpt.org/productions/chc/.





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Friends and fashion By Kelly Archer

Steeplechase benefits Children's Hospital By Jessica Ennis

The nature of nurture By Jessica Ennis