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$1M Federal Investment To Address TN Maternal Health Crisis

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
$1M Federal Investment To Address TN Maternal Health Crisis

Maternal mortality rates in the United States compare to that of third-world countries, but a new $1 million federal investment seeks to aid Tennessee mothers

Part of that investment will focus on rural moms.

Rebecca Kojak is the Administrative Director for Cookeville Regional’s Women’s Health Services. She said the most significant issues in maternal care across the Upper Cumberland include hypertension, diabetes, and substance abuse disorders.

“This isn’t something that is openly talked about a lot, so I think that’s the other piece that this funding will hopefully get out there and put a focus on for everyone,” Kojak said. “That this is still very much an issue in 2022.”

Kojak said the $1 million investment is part of a national $20 million initiative to help reduce disparities in maternal outcomes and support the state in tackling inequities in maternal health. She said while the investment is a good start, it’s not enough to wholly fix the problem.

According to a state report released in April 2022, 98 Tennessee women died in 2020 within one year of pregnancy. Kojack said that a vast majority of those pregnancy-related deaths are deemed preventable.

“It is really about access to care, making sure we’re following evidence-based standards when we’re providing that care,” Kojak said. “And then following up and plugging moms into support networks after they leave our care.”


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