Firefly is Tennessee's new comprehensive program for pregnant women, new mothers battling addiction

At Women's Health Clinic at Vanderbilt in 100 Oaks
Posted at 5:28 PM, Sep 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 23:34:52-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A new program called Firefly strives to help pregnant women and new moms manage their addiction without trips all over town.

"Having this all under one roof essentially is what I think is going to make this program a success," said Reagan Burgenheim, a peer recovery specialist with Firefly.

In addition to peer recovery specialists, the new Firefly program includes social workers, an outpatient lactation consultant, obstetric, pediatric and psychiatric professionals and a clinical program manager to help provide wraparound services that are responsive to the needs of this patient population.

Burgenheim is helping new patients navigate the program.

"One addict helping another definitely is unparalleled," Burgenheim said.

Her role as a recovery coach is what sets apart Firefly's Maternal Opioid Misuse or MOM program.

"It's a privilege to work with recovery coaches," said Dr. Jessica Young, OBGYN and addiction medicine specialist. "They bring their expertise, their heart, their passion for recovery support and it's critical to help people get a sense of community and to feel less alone."

Overdose is one of the biggest threats to mothers in Tennessee.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, 62 women died in 2019 while pregnant or within one year of pregnancy. One-third of the women struggled with addiction. The department reported 81% of those deaths were preventable.

"We have a real lack of programs that target pregnant people with opioid use disorder and postpartum people with opioid use disorder," said Dr. Young.

Firefly is embedded in the Women's Health Clinic at Vanderbilt in 100 Oaks.

"We're hoping by creating safe spaces like this we can center that as a chronic medical condition that is rather than a moral failing," said Dr. Young.

The MOM program is for women in Middle Tennessee covered by TennCare. It is funded by a five-year $5.3 million grant the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services gave to Tennessee and eight other states.

If you or a loved one is battling addiction you don't have to do it alone. Access to recovery resources is available any time by calling or texting the Tennessee Redline at 1-800-889-9789.