March of Dimes, Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute launch prematurity prevention partnership

LOUISVILLE, KY, MARCH 27, 2007 To reduce the rate of preventable preterm births in targeted areas of Kentucky, the March of Dimes and Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute today formally launched Healthy Babies Are Worth the WaitSM, a three-year partnership with the Kentucky Department for Public Health. The announcement was made at a news conference prior to the opening of the Kentucky Public Health Association's annual meeting here.

Six Kentucky hospitals representing diverse geographic regions are participating in Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait and are divided into "intervention" and "comparison" sites.

The three intervention sites King's Daughters Medical Center in Ashland; Trover Clinic/ Regional Medical Center in Hopkins County; and University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington will employ an innovative model combining interventions that are diverse, linked elements of clinical care, public health, and public education. These include consumer awareness and education; access to screenings and referrals for treatable or preventable conditions; consistent clinical care during the prenatal period and appropriate care between pregnancies; and professional education. The primary goal of Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait is a 15 percent reduction in the rate of singleton (one baby) preterm births in these targeted areas.

Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital in Somerset, Norton Hospital (Downtown) in Louisville, and Paducah's Western Baptist Hospital will serve as comparison sites, providing traditional high quality perinatal services and care.

Preterm birth (defined as birth before 37 completed weeks' gestation) is the leading cause of infant death in the U.S. and puts babies at great risk for lifelong disabilities such as cerebral palsy, blindness, and physical and neurological impairment.

Just a few extra days in the womb can make a difference, the organizations said today at the news conference. Even

Contact: Elizabeth Lynch
March of Dimes Foundation

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