To connect with Team Tennessee, please contact:

Cindy Chafin, Tennessee Folic Acid Council Coordinator; 615-898-5493

Valencia Nelson, March of Dimes Tennessee Chapter; 901-590-1722 

Welcome to the home page for Tennessee! This page will be updated as more of our partners share information and resources, so please check back regularly.

Tennessee’s Preconception Health Plan 

While Tennessee does not have a preconception health plan at this time, we believe that the health of women and children must be considered with a holistic approach over the entire life course.

Preconception Health Activity Highlights


  • The Tennessee Department of Health facilitates GetFitTN, a statewide awareness program developed to address the rising epidemic of Type 2 diabetes and risk factors that lead to diabetes, like obesity. This initiative is aimed at educating both adults and children that Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or even prevented with modest lifestyle changes like increasing physical activity and a healthier diet.

  • In September 2010, Tennessee released a comprehensive statewide nutrition and physical activity plan, Eat Well, Play More Tennessee. This five-year plan, developed by the Tennessee Obesity Taskforce, provides a comprehensive roadmap to reduce obesity and chronic disease by 2015. 

  • The Tennessee Folic Acid Council, a group that has for 10+ years promoted folic acid education and preconception health, recently completed its “Did u know that folic acid is good for u and ur Future Baby” was the initial project that sought to educate college-aged women on the importance of folic acid as well as other areas of preconception health such as smoking cessation, healthy weight, abstaining from alcohol, and promoting other areas of preconception health. MTSU’s Center for Health and Human Services administered the grant 2011-2013 and facilitated the activities with its student population reaching thousands of students with important preconception health messages. Over the three-year period, the project expanded to include a preconception health advisory committee and focused on the topics cited in the initial project with an added emphasis on behavior modification and strategies for change. In addition, toolkits were developed for other institutions statewide to replicate this successful program on their campuses.

  • Community Voice has trained over 1,200 lay health advisors through the March of Dimes to provide prenatal and preconception education to the pregnant women and women of childbearing age of Memphis. The program will be continued through a grant agreement with the State of Tennessee and the Shelby County Government.

  • The March of Dimes NICU Family Support Program provides interconception education and family centered support for families in the NICU in an effort to reduce incidences of repeat preterm births and/or readmits.

  • Centering Pregnancy®, Birthing Project USA, and Blues Project are examples of evidenced based prenatal programs that address comprehensive prenatal education, group prenatal care (CP only), and varying levels of integration of postnatal interconception support among participants. 

  • The Tennessee Department of Health provides WIC services in about 140 county health department locations and hospital sites throughout the state. The program serves about 178,000 eligible participants each month. The Department of Health also supports Nutrition Education Centers located throughout the state that have been extremely well-received by local residents. Tennessee may be the only state with such large scale centers. Online education for patients is also available for follow-up nutrition education, another resource that some states may have, though Tennessee is one of only a few in the southeast region.

  • The 2013 Tennessee Women's Health Report Card will be released in May 2013. The Report Card highlights the health and healthcare needs of the 3.1 million women of TN in five key areas including health behaviors, screening and preventive care. The Report Card is a collaborative effort of the Vanderbilt Institute for Medicine and Public Health, the Vanderbilt Institute of Clinical and Translational Research, TN Department of Health, Meharry Medical College and the University of TN Health Science Center.

Smoking Cessation:

  • Clearing the Air Together: Nurses Empowering Parents to Quit Smoking utilizes the 5A's “train the trainer” model to train up to 200 nurses to provide smoking cessation counseling to women in Eastern Tennessee before conception, during pregnancy, and after delivery.

  • Tennessee is also home to the SMART Moms program (Smart Mothers are Resisting Tobacco), a prenatal smoking cessation program funded by March of Dimes and implemented as a 5-year program through Middle Tennessee State University Center for Health and Human Services before it became a self-sustaining program within the Tennessee Department of Health. The program reached over 13,000 pregnant smokers throughout the duration of the initial 5-year grant. The SMART moms protocol is a 5As based program and is evidenced-based.

Addtional information:

  • Tennessee has a strong PRAMS data collection, promising home visiting programs (Help Us Grow Successfully, Child Health and Development and Healthy Start), and nutrition centers. The state continues to fund and support Managed Care Organizations in building disease management programs (such as asthma, HIV, and sickle cell management), stressing the importance of management of these conditions in women of childbearing age. The Fetal Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) program launched four pilot sites in August 2009. 

  • At this time Tennessee does not have a specific preconception health council, although there are several councils and/or coalitions dealing with specific issues (i.e., folic acid, smoking), including the preconception advisory committee of the “Did u Know” project detailed above.