CMC Earns BEST for Babies Award by TN Department of Health

Cumberland Medical Center, a member of Covenant Health, is one of 10 hospitals state-wide to earn the 2021 “BEST for Babies” award, announced recently by Tennessee Hospital Association and the Tennessee Department of Health.

To help save infant lives, Cumberland Medical Center has partnered with the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) and Tennessee Hospital Association (THA) to reduce infant mortality by promoting breastfeeding, eliminating early elective deliveries, and promoting safe sleep to meet the criteria for the BEST award. The BEST award was created in 2016 and stands for breastfeeding, early elective delivery reduction and safe sleep for Tennessee babies.

“We strive to put patients first each and every day. This award is very meaningful because it means that we’re doing our best to ensure newborns and their mothers receive the best start in life while they are with us,” says CMC Chief Nursing Officer Shana Wyatt. “This is a community effort, and I could not be more pleased of our team for their commitment.”

Cumberland Medical Center met the following criteria set by TDH to receive the BEST for Babies award:

  • Breastfeeding: Increase breastfeeding initiation rate by five percent from one year to the next, or have a breastfeeding initiation rate of 82 percent or higher.
  • Early Elective Delivery: Have an early elective delivery rate of five percent or less.
  • Safe Sleep: Have either a Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital certification or a safe sleep policy meeting current American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines. In addition, submit crib audits to TDH to assure hospital crib safety.

For 2020, Tennessee’s infant mortality rate of 6.3 deaths per 1,000 live births exceeded the national rate of 5.6 deaths per 1,000 live births. Sleep-related deaths account for approximately 20 percent of all infant deaths each year. Prematurity was one of the leading causes of infant death in 2020, while an unsafe sleep environment was the third leading cause of infant death. Breastfeeding is known to protect against infant mortality and improves the mother and baby’s overall health. Focusing on these efforts can increase the number of babies who successfully reach their first birthday.

Cumberland Medical Center is committed to the health and safety of all patients and is proud to partner with TDH and THA in the BEST for Babies effort to reduce infant deaths. Last year CMC delivered 701 babies, and in 2020 CMC was the only Upper Cumberland hospital to be named a “Best Maternity Hospital” by Newsweek Magazine.  

CMC offers free childbirth classes for expectant families to learn about the signs of labor, relaxation breathing techniques, and infant care. The sessions also cover breast and bottle feeding to help babies get their best nutritional start.

Participants attend a three-session evening class series. Classes are scheduled from 6-8:30 p.m. on the following Thursdays:

June 2, 9, 16
August 4, 11, 18
October 6, 13, 20
December 1, 8, 15

To learn more about Cumberland Medical Center’s maternity services or to register for the free childbirth classes, call (931) 484-9511 or visit

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