Better Homes & Gardens
Teen Pregnancy and Beyond
Knox County has in place one of the most sophisticated and efficient emergency medical service systems in the country to serve the residents of Knoxville and Knox County. Residents can be assured that Rural/Metro responds quickly when help is needed. A response time of 10 minutes or less for 90 percent of all emergency calls is mandated by our contract with Knox County. The public record shows that Rural/Metro consistently meets and exceeds those response time requirements.
In the case in question, the shooting victim was cared for by a nationally award-winning paramedic and arrived at the University of Tennessee Medical Center within 23 minutes of the initial call to 911. That is superb emergency care.
We understand that often during an emergency situation, the perception of time becomes distorted and minutes can seem much longer than they really are. However, Rural/Metro’s response times are carefully monitored and recorded by the Knox County Health Department, which oversees our contract with the county. These records reflect the actual facts. The citizens of our community can be confident that when they call 911 for an ambulance, Rural/Metro will be on the scene quickly.
Over the past several months, Knoxville has been the recipient of a wide variety of accolades. In January 2006, Hotwire.com ranked our city as the fourth most affordable travel destination in the nation based on low hotel rates and airfare, and affordable entertainment. That same month, Where to Retire magazine urged its readership to consider Knoxville as a city to retire based on the area’s scenery, recreation, accessibility and cultural opportunities. In March 2006, Small Market Meetings magazine encouraged its readership to consider Knoxville as a convention destination because of the city’s many newly constructed hotels, such as the Cumberland House Hotel, and new developments coming to the downtown area including the Mast General Store and the eight-screen Regal movie theater. In April 2006, Family Circle magazine touted Knoxville’s appeal to those looking for a unique vacation destination by describing numerous family-fun activities available in the city.
This month alone, Knoxville received two huge honors: the first, from CNNMoney.com , naming Knoxville as one of the top seven vacation destinations in the United States and abroad (which you detailed in your editorial), and the other from the Southeast Tourism Society, which named Knoxville’s Boomsday as one of the “Top 20 Events” in the entire Southeast region in the month of September.
Your editorial was just the icing on the cake. Thank you for encouraging your readership to “Discover Your Knoxville.”
We often hear from Knoxvillians that “there’s nothing to do” in our city. However, your editorial listed 24 attractions locals could visit for free on May 13 so they could have first-hand knowledge of what all the fuss is about. By design, the KTSC and the Knoxville Tourism Alliance created this “Discover Your Knoxville” day so that locals could see the abundance of activity waiting in our own backyards. But, in reality, it really doesn’t take a special day to “Discover Your Knoxville.” Pick any day of the week and people can enjoy a wide-array of entertainment possibilities—from Sundown in the City to First Fridays and Farmer’s Markets on Market Square, to a great show in a beautifully historic venue like the Tennessee Theatre, to new exhibits at the Knoxville Zoo and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
What tremendous endorsements from our peers, and who knew there was so much to do and see in Knoxville!
Not too shabby for the city that was once described as “a scruffy little city.”
Erin Burns Freeman
Teen Pregnancy and Beyond
A disturbing fact is that when women of childbearing age leave their teens and enter their 20s and 30s, there are still far too many unplanned pregnancies. A report issued last month by the East Tennessee Friendly Access Coalition (ETFA) gives results of a four-year Federal demonstration grant focused on low-income women and access to prenatal care and pediatric care in our 16-county East Tennessee region. Interviews were conducted with almost 1,000 low-income women, some focused on prenatal care and some on pediatric access to care. Of the women interviewed at five area hospitals just after giving birth, a surprising statistic was that over 60 percent of the pregnancies among survey respondents were unintended. Of those unintended pregnancies, 66.2 percent of the women who did not intend to become pregnant were not using birth control. (A copy of the complete ETFA Report to the Community may be accessed at the UT College of Nursing website, http://nightingale.con.utk.edu .) The majority of the women reported having no information about, or access to, birth control.
This has tremendous implications for our society. New recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (one of our national partners for our Friendly Access demonstration grant) focus on the concept of “preconception.” CDC has issued 10 recommendations, presented here in brief: (1) Encourage each woman, man, and couple to have a reproductive life plan; (2) Increase public awareness of the importance of preconception health behaviors and preconception care services by using information and tools appropriate across various ages, literacy levels (including health literacy levels), and cultural and linguistic contexts; (3) As a part of primary care visits, provide risk assessment and educational and health-promotion counseling to all women of childbearing age to reduce reproductive risks and improve pregnancy outcomes; (4) Increase the proportion of women who receive interventions as follow-up preconception-risk screening, focusing on high-priority interventions (i.e. interventions with evidence of effectiveness and greatest potential impact); (5) Use the interconception period to provide additional intensive interventions to women who have had a previous pregnancy that ended in an adverse outcome (i.e. infant death, fetal loss, birth defect, low birthweight, or preterm birth); (6) Offer, as a component of maternity care, one prepregnancy visit for couples and persons planning pregnancy; (7) Increase public and private health insurance coverage for women with low incomes to improve access to preventive women’s health and preconception and interconception care; (8) Integrate components of preconception health into existing local public health and related programs, including emphasis on interconception interventions for women with previous adverse pregnancy outcomes; (9) Increase the evidence base, and promote the use of the evidence to improve preconception health; and (10) Maximize public health surveillance and related research mechanisms to monitor preconception health.
This common sense and comprehensive action plan proposed by the CDC would go a long way toward improving outcomes for all women of childbearing age, and would reach far beyond the healthcare delivery system to truly affect quality of life for all of our children, particularly those yet to be born.
Ann Ince, Chair
Guidelines for Incoming Mail