March of Dimes grant aims to help improve young wo...

March of Dimes grant aims to help improve young women’s health

A new $20,000 grant from the March of Dimes Tennessee Chapter will help MTSU’s Center for Health and Human Services boost its popular text-messaging campaign aimed at improving young women’s health.

The funds will support the “Did u Know” advisory committee’s campaign, “Did u know what’s good 4 u is good 4 ur future baby?”, begun in 2010 as part of the Tennessee Folic Acid Council’s efforts to educate college women about the impact their current health can have on their futures.

The “Did u Know” campaign currently serves students at MTSU, who come from all parts of Tennessee. Through it, they learn about the importance of eating well, folic acid and birth-defects prevention, not smoking and abstaining from alcohol, as well as maintaining a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of developing diabetes, obesity and other chronic health conditions.

The new grant will help the project develop a toolkit so that other academic institutions and student groups across the state can replicate the activities. Peer-directed educational activities will include a text-messaging campaign and other online educational tools.

“We will use the March of Dimes grant to meet our objective of providing young women from all areas of the state of Tennessee with education on healthy lifestyles, which may affect them today as well as tomorrow as future parents,” said Cindy Chafin, director of the “Did u Know” project and CHHS project manager and consultant at MTSU.

, Center for Health and Human Services interim director

Cynthia Chafin

“We will be able to reach more young women with these important messages as well as share the ‘how-to’s’ with other colleges, universities, and student groups throughout the state.”

Chafin said the innovative methods of reaching young women will fit with the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendation for preconception health.

“We are grateful to those volunteers who support the March of Dimes by participation in events like March for Babies and who donate in other ways either through monetary donations, and donations of their time and energies,” Chafin added. “That participation and those donations make this grant and all of the others that the March of Dimes supports possible.”

The “Did u Know” advisory committee is a group of public-health professionals and maternal/child advocates interested in improving the health of women of childbearing age in Tennessee. The Tennessee Folic Acid Council is a partnership between the Tennessee Chapter of the March of Dimes and the Tennessee Department of Health.

MTSU’s Center for Health and Human Services has been a previous grant recipient for folic-acid education and other maternal/child health grants and has been involved in several activities of the Tennessee Folic Acid Council and the “Did u Know” advisory committee.

“The Center for Health and Human Services continues to be a proud partner in promoting healthy lifestyles in young women and to reduce birth defects through its projects with the March of Dimes,” added CHHS Director Dr. Jo Edwards, holder of the Adams Chair of Excellence in Health Care Services at MTSU.

For more information about the center, visit The “Did u Know” project’s website will be live soon.