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Shade Tree Early Pregnancy Program (STEPP)

What is STEPP?

STEPP—the Shade Tree Early Pregnancy Program—is run out of the Shade Tree Clinic, a student-run clinic in East Nashville that provides free medical services to the local, medically underserved population. Begun in 2009, STEPP holds a prenatal clinic the first Saturday of each month (excluding holidays when it is moved to the second Saturday). The clinic is staffed by volunteer medical students, nursing students, and an attending Vanderbilt nurse-midwife. Patients receive a primary prenatal care visit and are then scheduled for an ultrasound and follow-up appointment at a clinic in the Nashville area that provides full well-women and prenatal services.

STEPP’s Mission

To connect pregnant women from underserved populations with early prenatal care, community resources, prenatal education, and social resources.

To train medical and midwifery students to provide prenatal care for underserved populations by addressing not only their physical and psychological medical needs but also their social needs.

What services does STEPP provide?

STEPP provides free services for uninsured and underinsured women needing prenatal care:

  1. First prenatal visit and physical exam, including pelvic exam and Pap if clinically appropriate.
  2. Blood test labs needed for prenatal care.
  3. Prenatal vitamins and other needed medications that are stocked in the Shade Tree pharmacy.
  4. Help signing up for CoverKids (Tennessee’s insurance program for mothers and babies) or TennCare so that the patient can afford future prenatal care.
  5. Connect patient with other social needs: WIC, mental health services, etc.
  6. Appointment for follow-up prenatal care with Vanderbilt Midwives or with maternal fetal medicine specialists at One Hundred Oaks.
  7. Appointment for an ultrasound at The Vanderbilt Clinic or One Hundred Oaks.

To get in touch with STEPP call 615-873-0414 or email