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Years Active: 2016-2018

Nutrition: Improving Nutrition and

Growth in Very Low Birth Weight Infants


The aim of this project is to decrease the rate of growth failure in VLBW infants in Tennessee Neonatal Intensive Care Units.

Many very low birth weight babies born in Tennessee are small for gestational age. Provisional analyses of preliminary data demonstrate many of these infants experience further growth failure after delivery. In 2016, ten QI teams began collaborating in a data-driven effort to implement evidenced based practices to improve the growth of this population.

The immediate aims of this project are to decrease by 10% the number of Tennessee VLBW infants with growth failure or severe growth failure at 36 weeks by March 2017. Growth failure is defined for this project as having a weight less than the 10th percentile for age (Z score < -1.26) and severe growth failure as having a weight less than the 3rd percentile for age (a Z score of < -1.94), and to determine the delta Z score for VLBW infants cared for in Tennessee and decrease this delta Z score by 10% by June 2017.

Project Resources

QI Project Guidance

TIPQC Nutrition Tool Kit

Active Participating

Hospital Teams

  • Baptist Memorial Health Care
  • Children’s Hospital at Erlanger
  • East Tennessee Children’s Hospital
  • Holston Valley Medical Center
  • Jackson-Madison County General Hospital
  • Johnson City Medical Center
  • Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital
  • Maury Regional Medical Center
  • Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare – Germantown
  • Moroe Carrel Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt
  • Nashville General Hospital at Meharry
    Parkridge Medical Center
  • Physicans Regional Medical Center
  • Regional One Health
  • Saint Francis Hospital – Memphis
  • Saint Thomas – Midtown Hospital
  • Saint Thomas – Rutherford Hospital
  • TriStar Centennial Medical Center
  • The University of Tennessee Medical Center

State Leader

Ramasubbareddy Dhanireddy, MD, UTHSC Distinguished Professor, is Chief of Pediatrics and Medical Director of the Newborn Center at the Regional Medical Center, Regional One Health located in Memphis, TN. Dr. Dhanireddy has been a practicing academic neonatologist for more than 38 years and is board certified in Neonatal Perinatal Medicine and Pediatrics. He has published more than 80 research articles, several book chapters, served as principal and co-principal investigator in several research studies. He has served as a TIPQC Oversight Committee Member, since its inception. In July 2017 Dr. Dhanireddy was named as the Infant Medical Director of TIPQC.



TIPQC is actively recruiting devoted health care professionals, community leaders and patient and family partners to further our mission of improving health outcomes for mothers and babies in Tennessee.