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Renewal House, VUMC team to help opioid-addicted mothers

Renewal House and Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have launched an alliance that will expedite treatment and expand the community’s capacity to treat mothers and children most acutely affected by opioid addiction in the mid-state.

Renewal House operates Nashville’s first long-term and most comprehensive residential recovery program for addicted women and their children at its campus in North Nashville. With the Vanderbilt alliance, labeled Recover Together, the 20-year-old nonprofit has opened an outpatient location adjacent to Vanderbilt Center for Women’s Health at Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks in Nashville.

At the One Hundred Oaks site, Renewal House will deliver enrollment, group counseling, outpatient recovery treatment, parenting skills training and relapse prevention services. Vanderbilt’s physicians will provide assessment, diagnosis, medical care and referral services.

Pamela Sessions, Renewal House Chief Executive Officer, said the new alliance with Vanderbilt marks an important step for the organization and the community. “Renewal House has worked very hard to improve our service to the community and has made great progress in helping those mothers we serve break the cycle of addiction. This marks an important expansion in our capacity, that has remained roughly the same for the past decade. Over that same period, the problem of opiate addiction among mothers has exploded to epidemic proportions.

“We are delighted to join with Vanderbilt in this endeavor,” Sessions said, “and we hope it is the first of many opportunities we will have to expand access and availability of treatment in Middle Tennessee.”

Jessica Young, M.D., assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, runs Vanderbilt’s drug dependency clinic, battling what has been called the worst drug epidemic in this nation’s history.
She says the new alliance will provide an opportunity to increase patient-centered care for mothers with infants and young children.

“Pregnant women struggling with addiction deserve the support, education and treatment necessary to be healthy for themselves and their babies,” said Young. “Our partnership with Renewal House gives our patients these resources to support their long-term recovery. The goal is simple — healthy mothers, healthy babies, healthy families.”

Ronald Alvarez, M.D., chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, said the partnership with Renewal House comes at a pivotal time.

“It is critical to help mothers recovering from opioid addiction and their newborns move toward more healthy and productive lives so they can reach their full potential,” he said. “We are so thankful to partner with Renewal House in order to help our mothers and newborns achieve these important goals.”