Amerigroup Foundation and March of Dimes Join Efforts to Improve Iowa Birth Outcomes through Innovative Prenatal Care Program

A $30,800 Amerigroup Grant Will Make CenteringPregnancy Sessions Available to Hundreds of Pregnant Women Across Iowa

Des Moines, IA | Monday, May 15, 2017

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The Amerigroup Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Amerigroup Iowa, has joined the March of Dimes to expand access to CenteringPregnancy® prenatal care across Iowa. A $30,800 grant provided by the Foundation will increase opportunities for pregnant women to participate in CenteringPregnancy programs, which have been proven to enhance quality of care by bringing women together in group settings to access pre and postnatal care. Women who have participated in CenteringPregnancy programs have experienced improved birth outcomes with fewer incidences of preterm births and low birth weight babies. Amerigroup’s grant is expected to help hundreds of women across the state to access this care, and is part of the Amerigroup Foundation’s work to address some of the nation’s most complex health issues.

“Amerigroup is pleased for the opportunity to bring our Foundation’s support to Iowa, to champion innovative approaches, such as CenteringPregnancy, which better engage patients in their health, enhance care experiences and create communities of support,” said Dr. Mark Levy, Amerigroup Iowa medical director. “We thank the March of Dimes for their collaboration, and welcome their support in this latest effort to improve treatment for pregnant women and give more babies healthier starts in life.”

CenteringPregnancy takes women out of exam rooms and puts them in group settings to access care and information. During each prenatal care appointment, 8 – 12 women with similar due dates meet with each other and a designated health practitioner to access health assessments, education and peer support. Women complete conventional medical history and physical exams in a doctor’s office or clinic and are then invited to join a facilitated discussion that offers the opportunity to interact with peers and ask questions. Each CenteringPregnancy group meets for a total of 10 sessions throughout pregnancy and early postpartum.

“In Iowa, one in every eleven babies is born prematurely, and we know that babies born even a few weeks early have higher rates of illness and hospitalization compared to full-term newborns,” said Mary Larsen, March of Dimes Regional Director or Maternal Child Health. “In order for us to continue to make improvements and reduce this percentage, it’s important for us to continue collaborations with organizations such as Amerigroup Foundation and March of Dimes. This innovative care model will help many new moms during a critical time to increase the likelihood of a healthy, full-term birth.”

Amerigroup’s grant in Iowa continues a long-standing relationship between the Amerigroup Foundation and March of Dimes to improve maternal and infant health. Most recently, in 2015-2016, a $1 million Amerigroup Foundation grant helped the March of Dimes provide prevention services to 6,600 women across the nation, including 3,300 who participated in CenteringPregnancy.

“This grant allows the March of Dimes to provide much-needed support and services for hundreds of moms, to help them have healthy, full-term pregnancies and healthy babies,” said Paul E. Jarris, MD, MBA, senior vice president and chief medical officer of the March of Dimes. “The March of Dimes applauds Amerigroup Foundation for its dedication to better health for American families and their continued support of our mission to help give every baby a fighting chance.”

The March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign, launched in 2003, seeks to raise awareness of the problem and to lower the rate of premature birth to 8.1 percent of births by 2020 and to 5.5 percent by 2030. To learn more about this campaign and CenteringPregnancy efforts, visit  

About Amerigroup Foundation

The Amerigroup Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Amerigroup, a wholly owned subsidiary of Anthem, Inc. Together, with local, regional and national organizations, the Amerigroup Foundation works to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Amerigroup and its affiliated health plans serve. Amerigroup Foundation funding is focused on strategic initiatives working to address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative with five areas of focus: Healthy Heart, Cancer Prevention, Healthy Maternal Practices, Type 2 Diabetes Prevention, and Healthy Active Lifestyle. These disease states and medical conditions include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Associate Giving program which provides a 50 percent match of associates’ campaign pledges, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. To learn more about the Amerigroup Foundation, please visit 

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.

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