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March of Dimes Rhode Island Chapter

220 West Exchange St. #003

Providence, RI  02903

(401) 454-1911

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    South Carolina’s Birth Outcomes Initiative to Host National March of Dimes Medical Officer

    Columbia, South Carolina, November 06, 2013 —

    Contact: Jacki Apel, Director of Communications, March of Dimes SC Chapter

    803-640-2350 or JApel@marchofdimes.org

    The South Carolina Chapter of the March of Dimes, the South Carolina Hospital Association, the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control—members of the South Carolina Birth Outcomes Initiative—will host a symposium on November 14 at The South Carolina Hospital Association. Dr. Scott Berns, Deputy Medical Officer & Senior Vice President, March of Dimes Foundation, National Office will be a keynote speaker. Dr. Berns will highlight the goals of the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign. He will also present current evidence-based practices aimed to reduce preterm births.

    Dr. Scott Berns oversees national initiatives that are implemented in communities across the nation, such as family support and professional development in the NICU, Mobile Health Care, and Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait, an initiative that focuses on preventable preterm birth.  He is the editor of the 2011 published “Toward Improving the Outcome of Pregnancy III:  Enhancing Perinatal Health through Quality, Safety and Performance Initiatives.” Dr. Berns is board certified in pediatrics and pediatric emergency medicine.  He also earned an MPH with a concentration in health policy and management at the Harvard School of Public Health.

    The Birth Outcomes Initiative (BOI) Symposium will highlight strategies aimed at improving maternal and infant care currently implemented in South Carolina. The event also aims to raise awareness of South Carolina’s high rates of premature birth, infant and maternal mortality.  On November 1, The March of Dimes issued the annual nationwide and state-by-state Prematurity Report Cards. South Carolina received a “D” grade, with a premature birth rate of 13.7%. The March of Dimes goal is to reduce every state’s prematurity rate to 9.6% or less.

    In 2011, the BOI requested that all South Carolina hospitals sign a letter of commitment to reduce elective inductions prior to 39 pregnancy weeks unless medically necessary. All 43 birthing hospitals in the state signed the agreement. Since August 2011, there has been a 51% reduction in the number of elective inductions performed prior to 39 weeks gestational age, and a 15% reduction in the total number of births prior to 39 weeks. There has also been a 21% drop in the total number of NICU days for babies born in South Carolina. These reductions mean a significant savings in health care costs for our state.

    Additional speakers at the symposium will include:

    Tony Keck, Director, SC Department of Health and Human Services

    Amy Picklesimer, MD, MPH, Clinical Lead for SC Birth Outcomes Initiative

    M. Kathryn Menard, MD, MPH, Vice Chair for Obstetrics and Director, UNC Maternal-Fetal Medicine,Co-Director, Center for Maternal and Infant Health, University of North Carolina School of Medicine

    About the March of Dimes:

    In 2013, the March of Dimes celebrates its 75th Anniversary and its ongoing work to help babies get a healthy start in life.  Early research led to the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines that all babies still receive.  Other breakthroughs include new treatments for premature infants and children with birth defects.  About 4 million babies are born each year in the United States, and all have benefitted the March of Dimes life saving research and education.

    The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.org/southcarolina

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