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School of Nursing leads $1.5 million grant addressing neonatal abstinence syndrome

Initiative offers home visits for pregnant and new mothers navigating substance abuse treatment and recovery
Pregnant woman caressing her stomach

The Texas A&M University School of Nursing and key partners are preparing to launch a home-visiting program designed to curb neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) in the Golden Crescent area of Texas. The project is funded by a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Golden Crescent Management of Opioid Risk in Mothers (GC-MOMS) is funded under the HRSA’s Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP), an initiative aimed at reducing morbidity and mortality related to substance use disorder and opioid use disorder in high-risk rural communities. GC-MOMS will focus on NAS, which occurs when babies are exposed to drugs, like opioids, in the womb and experience withdrawal.

The School of Nursing is collaborating with the Texas A&M School of Medicine and School of Public Health to develop a custom curriculum for home educators to support pregnant and new mothers as they navigate substance abuse treatment and recovery. GC-MOMS’ 12-month program will focus on behavioral health, community risk factors and more.

Other partners include Golden Crescent-based Cuero Regional Hospital, a referral source for the GC-MOMS, and the Billy T. Cattan Recovery Outreach Center, which will provide peer recovery support services for enrolled families.

Robin Page, PhD, associate professor at the School of Nursing, serves as project director. Project team members are Nancy Downing, PhD, associate professor at the School of Nursing; Kelly Wilson, PhD, professor at the School of Nursing; Carly McCord, PhD, clinical associate professor at the School of Medicine; and Heather Clark, DrPH, director of public health practice at the School of Public Health.

“The School of Nursing has a long history of serving at-risk communities under RCORP, and GC-MOMS represents an important opportunity to expand our outreach to more families who need us,” Page said. “The Golden Crescent area is a ‘maternity care desert,’ which means families there don’t have access to important services that promote healthy pregnancies and positive post-partum outcomes. We believe a coordinated home-visiting program can provide essential support that helps remove barriers to care.”

The Golden Crescent area, which includes the counties of Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Gonzales, Jackson, Lavaca and Victoria, is a designated health professional shortage area, according to HRSA. GC-MOMS will serve Lavaca, DeWitt, Jackson and Calhoun counties.

GC-MOMS operates under the Program of Excellence for Mothers, Children and Families (POEMCF) at the School of Nursing, which creates and manages projects that serve families and communities across Texas. Much of the POEMCF’s programming uses home-visiting models.

GC-MOMS expects to launch home visits later this summer. For information, visit

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