MARCH OF DIMES AND ANTHEM BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD FOUNDATION CONTINUE EFFORTS TO PREVENT PREMATURE BIRTHS IN MISSOURI
$60,870 Grant Will Help Support Group Prenatal Care Programs
St. Louis, MO | Tuesday, May 9, 2017
March of Dimes has announced a $60,870 grant from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation to help prevent premature birth and improve the health of Missouri’s moms and babies. Prematurity is the #1 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 addition to the toll on families, economic costs for prematurity are estimated at more than $26 billion annually by the National Academy of Medicine.
The Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation grant will enable the March of Dimes to make CenteringPregnancy®, a group prenatal care model, available to additional women in Missouri by supporting programs throughout the state. 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 12 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 10 sessions throughout pregnancy and early postpartum. The practitioner, within the group space, completes standard physical health assessments at each session.
“This grant allows March of Dimes to provide much-needed support and services for thousands 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 Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield 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 $60,870 grant to the March of Dimes is part of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation’s ongoing commitment to addressing health disparities and improving public health in Missouri. Through its Healthy Generations program, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield 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 Steve Martenet, President of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Missouri. “We’re proud to team up 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.”
The new grant continues a longstanding relationship between Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation and March of Dimes to improve maternal and infant health. Most recently, in 2015-2016, a $1 million grant from Anthem Foundation, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation’s parent foundation, helped the March of Dimes provide prevention services 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 rate of premature birth to 8.1 percent of births by 2020 and to 5.5 percent by 2030.
About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation
Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, promotes Anthem’s inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield serves. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These 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 and its parent foundation provides a 50 percent match of associates’ pledges. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
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.