What Are We Doing To Help Infants Born From Drug-Addicted Mothers?
Nursing Science Ph.D. Student Kelly McGlothen was featured in Tribute Magazine for improving infant health care.
A registered nurse, McGlothen earned her B.S.N. from the School of Nursing at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio in 2012 and returned in the fall of 2013 to pursue her Ph.D.
As part of her coursework, McGlothen serves as a graduate research assistant. Under the tutelage of her mentor Lisa Cleveland, Ph.D., RN, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing’s Department of Family and Community Health Systems, McGlothen launched a pilot study with the goal of helping some of San Antonio’s most vulnerable patients—infants born to mothers addicted to and recovering from opioids, including drugs such as heroin, methadone, Vicodin and others both legal and illegal.
McGlothen, who grew up in Texas, where teen pregnancy rates are among some of the highest in the nation, said that as a teen she was well aware of the problems that young mothers can encounter when life stresses become overwhelming.
“When I lived in Corpus Christi, I had some friends who became pregnant very early on and weren’t ready for the responsibilities of motherhood,” McGlothen said. “One was 15 and the other was only 12 years old. I could see how a troubled young woman not equipped to handle the pressures of being a new mom could turn to substance abuse or other unhealthy habits as an escape.”
McGlothen is working with her faculty mentor, Dr. Cleveland, who has more than 20 years of experience as a neonatal nurse, on a partnership among the School of Nursing, University Hospital, the Center for Health Care Services and the Department of State Health Services.
The purpose is to disseminate a San Antonio treatment and counseling effort called “The Mommies Program” for substance-abuse recovering mothers and their newborns. Since then, more than 1,000 women have benefited from the program. McGlothen considers herself among the beneficiaries as she was able to engage in the program as Dr. Cleveland’s research assistant.
“I’m doing what I love: helping young women, their babies and contributing to important research,” McGlothen said.
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