Community Comes Together To Improve the Health of Moms and Babies

Apple Valley,CA | Thursday, September 13, 2018

Media Contacts

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Elizabeth Williams: ewilliams@marchofdimes.org; 408-398-9417

Marta Bills: MCH Program Director mbills@marchofdimes.org; 951-892-7924


Community Comes Together To Improve the Health of Moms and Babies

(APPLE VALLEY, CA – SEPT. 12, 2018) - On Wednesday, September 26, 2018, March of Dimes is convening the 4th annual March of Dimes Prematurity Prevention Update supported by Johnson & Johnson.  Health professionals will hear an update on Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait® -- the High Desert community’s efforts to address the region’s high preterm birth rate.  According to The National Center for Health Statistics, provisional data shows that this year marks the third consecutive increase in preterm births after steady declines over the previous seven years. Among non-Hispanic black women and Hispanic women, the preterm birth rate increase was even greater. This year’s presentation will focus on increasing the cultural competence and sensitivity of local health care professionals in an effort to promote the establishment of trauma-free, supportive maternal care environments for African American and other women of color.

March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies and is focused on reducing preterm births and improving maternal and infant health.  Mothers and babies in the U.S. are facing an urgent health crisis. Nearly half a million babies a year are born prematurely or with birth defects. Premature birth is the largest contributor to infant death in this country and pregnancy-related death has more than doubled over the past 25 years.  Maternal morbidity and mortality rates are rising while health disparities continue to grow.

“The preterm birth rate among black women is 47% higher than the rate among all other women,” said Marta Bills, March of Dimes Maternal Child Health Inland Empire Program Director and Team Lead for Healthy Babies Are Worth The Wait. “In San Bernardino County as a whole, one in eleven babies are born too soon, but for African American births, the rate is one in eight.”

The evening features keynote speaker, Sayida Peprah, PsyD, who will present “Transgenerational Trauma and Resilience; Considerations for Working with Pregnant, Laboring and Post-Partum African American Women.” Dr. Sayida has a multi-faceted career as a clinician, educator and consultant. Currently, she holds the position of Deputy Chief Psychologist supervising and overseeing mental health services for the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Victorville, CA. She is also a Professor of Psychology for the University of Phoenix, facilitating Diversity and Cultural Factors in Psychology courses.  Dr. Sayida speaks at conferences across the country on these topics.

Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait (HBWW) is a March of Dimes’ preterm birth prevention initiative with a focus on decreasing “preventable” preterm birth, through partnerships and collaborations between hospitals, health departments and community organizations. The HBWW program focuses on the specific needs of the community, as defined by the community and then provides education for pregnant patients, perinatal providers and the greater community on the problem of preterm birth, its risk factors and strategies for reducing risk. In addition, HBWW provides a supportive structure for implementing multiple evidence-based preterm birth prevention interventions.

2,792 babies were born preterm in San Bernardino County, according to the 2015 National Center for Health Statistics. Babies born earlier than 37 weeks gestation are deemed preterm. Babies born too soon may have lifelong health problems such as cerebral palsy, vision and hearing loss, and intellectual delays.

More than 50 health providers and community organizations are expected to attend the 4th Annual March of Dimes Prematurity Prevention Update. This year’s event takes place Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. at the Desert Mountain Educational Service Center, 17800 Highway 18, Apple Valley, CA 92037. For more information about March of Dimes and this event, contact Marta Bills, MCH Director at mbills@marchofdimes.org.


About March of Dimes

March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.

Visit marchofdimes.org or nacersano.org for more information. Visit shareyourstory.org for comfort and support. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.