$50,000 will help support group prenatal care programs

Seattle, WA | Monday, June 19, 2017

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Olga Gallardo
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March of Dimes has announced a $50,000 grant from Amerigroup Foundation to help prevent premature birth and improve the health of moms and babies in Spokane, Pierce, and King Counties. 

Prematurity is the number one killer of babies in the U.S., and babies born even a few weeks early have higher rates of illness and hospitalization compared to full-term newborns. In Washington, one in twelve babies (8.1% of live births) are born preterm -- that’s more than 7,200 babies born too soon each year with possible lifelong health issues. Preterm birth is both heart wrenching and costly. Medical and economic costs for prematurity are estimated by the National Academy of Medicine to be $372 million annually in Washington and more than $26 billion in the United States.

The Amerigroup Foundation grant will enable the March of Dimes to make CenteringPregnancy®, a group prenatal care model, available to additional women in Washington by supporting programs in Spokane, Pierce, and King Counties. CenteringPregnancy, developed by Centering Healthcare Institute, has been demonstrated to reduce the incidence of preterm birth and low birth weight.  This prenatal care model integrates the three major components of care: health assessment, education, and support, into a unified program within a group setting. Eight to twelve pregnant women with similar due dates meet together, learning care skills, participating in a facilitated discussion, and developing a support network with other group members. Each CenteringPregnancy group meets for a total of ten sessions throughout pregnancy and early postpartum. The practitioner, within the group space, completes standard physical health assessments at each session and takes women out of exam rooms and into a comfortable setting for group support and learning. Each visit lasts ninety minutes to two hours - giving women up to ten times more time with their provider.

“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 $50,000 grant to the March of Dimes is part of Amerigroup Foundation’s ongoing commitment to addressing health disparities and improving public health in Washington. Through its Healthy Generations program, the Amerigroup Foundation is working to address some of the nation’s most complex health issues, among them, reducing the incidence of low birthweight babies and engaging mothers in prenatal care.

 “Although a lot of progress has been made to prevent premature birth and improve mom and baby health, it’s critical that we continue to ensure programs are available and expanded to reach growing and diverse communities,” said Craig Smith, Amerigroup Washington president. “Amerigroup is proud to team with the March of Dimes in its efforts to drive cutting-edge research, treatment and outreach to give every baby a healthy start in life.”

“This grant from Amerigroup Foundation allows the March of Dimes in Washington to provide much-needed support and services for hundreds of moms in Spokane, Pierce, and King Counties,” said Kasey Rivas, MPH March of Dimes Washington Maternal & Child Health Director. “We know from experience that group prenatal care reduces the risk for preterm birth by 33%-47% when compared to traditional care. Three new sites in Washington, supported by this grant, will help more moms have healthy pregnancies and give more babies a fair chance at a healthy start in our state.”

“We are so grateful to be able to get financial assistance from the March of Dimes and Amerigroup Foundation,” said Dr. Todd Chambers of MultiCare Tacoma. “It has allowed us to work on expanding the reach of our group pregnancy visits within Pierce County and Tacoma.  We were able to have more staff participate in Centering Pregnancy training and we are excited to keep working with mothers in an effort to promote healthy pregnancies.”

The new grant continues a longstanding relationship between Amerigroup Foundation and March of Dimes to improve maternal and infant health. Most recently, in 2015-2016, a $1 million grant from Anthem Foundation, Amerigroup Foundation’s parent foundation, helped the March of Dimes provide prevention services nationally to 6,600 women, including 3,300 who participated in CenteringPregnancy. 

The March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign, launched in 2003, seeks to raise awareness of the problem and to lower the national rate of premature birth to 8.1 percent of births by 2020 and to 5.5 percent by 2030. Washington achieved the 2020 goal in 2015 and 2016.

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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