Grant to Provide a Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns
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Grant to Provide a Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns

More than $800,000 will be used to start a program to enhance prenatal care and improve health outcomes of women and their children.

Written by Beth Phillips

Approximately 500 to 700 women will participate in the program each year.

Approximately 500 to 700 women will participate in the program each year.

TTUHSC is one of 27 institutions in the U.S. to receive a four-year $896,867 grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to establish the Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns program.

“CMS Strong Start grants focus on providing enhanced prenatal care to reduce preterm births, improve the health outcomes of pregnant women and newborns, and decrease the cost of medical care for infants born to mothers in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP),” said Yondell Masten, Ph.D., WHNP-BC, RNC-OB, The Florence Thelma Hall Endowed Chair for Nursing Excellence in Women’s Health, professor and associate dean of outcomes management and evaluation in the School of Nursing, and the principal investigator and director for the Strong Start grant.

Strong Start is a collaborative interprofessional intervention provided to approximately 500 to 700 participants a year by the School of Nursing’s Larry Combest Community Health & Wellness Center and the School of Medicine’s family medicine and OB-GYN departments.

The Lubbock initiative will test two evidence-based maternity care service approaches – CenteringPregnancy for Combest Center patients, and a Maternity Care Home with certified community health workers for qualifying Medicaid and CHIP mothers receiving care at New Dimensions. These approaches are designed to enhance prenatal and maternity care delivery and address the medical, behavioral and psychosocial factors that may be present during pregnancy and contribute to preterm-related poor birth outcomes.

CenteringPregnancy is a unique model of group care that integrates health assessment, education and support into a unified program within a group setting, according to the Centering Healthcare website. Eight to 12 women with similar gestational ages meet to learn care skills, participate in facilitated discussions and develop a support network. Each group meets for 10 sessions throughout pregnancy and early postpartum. A practitioner, within the group space, completes standard physical health assessments.

Maternity Care Homes provide enhanced prenatal care including psychosocial support, education and health promotion in addition to traditional prenatal care, according to the CMS website. Services provided will expand access to care, improve care coordination and provide a broader array of health services.

Additionally, care coordination, birth plan development and assistance with Texas Women, Infants and Children enrollment will be provided by community health workers for Maternity Care Home participants and by a CenteringPregnancy certified registered nurse at the Combest Center.

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Larry Combest Community Health & Wellness Center
Combest Center

The Larry Combest Community Health & Wellness Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center serving Lubbock and surrounding areas.

The nurse-managed center specializes in primary care and management of chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, hypertension and obesity for all ages.

Care is provided by nurse practitioners and a pediatrician.

School of Nursing
School of Nursing

The School of Nursing began in 1979 with the development of the first nationally accredited Continuing Nursing Education Program in Texas.

With campuses in Lubbock, Amarillo, Abilene, Dallas and the Permian Basin, the school offers a variety of programs:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN to BSN
  • Second Degree Web-based BSN
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Midwifery
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Post Master's Nurse Educator Certificate Program

Connect with the School of Nursing on .