RHODE ISLAND GETS A “B” ON MARCH OF DIMES PREMATURE BIRTH REPORT CARD Community Events Highlight Resources To Prevent Preterm Births

Providence, RI. – NOV. 5, 2015 – Rhode Island earned a “B” on the 2015 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card. Rhode Island’s preterm birth rate was 8.6 percent in 2014, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The rate exceeded the new March of Dimes 2020 goal of 8.1 percent. “This detailed information will allow us to focus our attention where we have the greatest need and to adapt our programs to meet the unique needs of each community,” said Dr. Robert Insoft, Board Chairman of the Rhode Island March of Dimes, “We’re proud that Rhode Island does a better than average job of preventing premature births. Despite the progress, preterm birth remains the number one killer of newborns and not all of our families are sharing in our success. There are large gaps in the preterm birth rate between communities in Rhode Island and racial and ethnic disparities persist.”

Rhode Island Premature Birth Community Information:

• On Nov. 5, from 7 – 10 am, at Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island (in The Malcolm and Elizabeth Chance Education Center), leading obstetricians, neonatologists, public health officials, and other maternal and child health professionals are being updated on the latest developments in preventing premature birth. Contact the March of Dimes at 401.228.1931 for information about the Summit.

•The Rhode Island March of Dimes Chapter is now accepting applications for their community grant program. For more information or to download an application, visit marchofdime.org/rhodeisland • On Nov 5 at 7:00 PM, the March of Dimes will be hosting “Painting for Preemies” at B. Pinellis Restaurant in East Providence. Guests will have an opportunity to recreate a beautiful painting of Colt State Park. Expert Guides on hand, No experience necessary.

• On November 20 at 7:30 PM at West Warwick Elks Club, Funny for Funds will be hosting “Belly Laughs for Babies” – a Parents’ Night Out comedy show. Join us for a night of laughs while raising funds and awareness for the March of Dimes!

The national preterm birth rate was 9.6 percent in 2014, meeting the March of Dimes 2020 goal six years early, the organization’s leaders announced as they set a new and higher standard for the report card. The improvement avoided thousands of early births and saved millions in health care costs.

The US earned a “C” on the 2015 report card. Oregon, Vermont and Washington earned “As”, 19 other states received a “B”, 18 states got a “C”, seven a “D” and Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Puerto Rico received an “F”.

The U.S. preterm birth rate is worse than that of most other high-resource countries, the March of Dimes says. Worldwide, 15 million babies are born preterm, and more than one million die due to complications of an early birth. Babies who survive an early birth face serious and lifelong health problems, including breathing problems, jaundice, vision loss, cerebral palsy and intellectual delays.

The March of Dimes says progress in the US preterm birth rate came through bold leadership and the implementation of programs and policies by Rhode Island and local health departments, hospitals and health care providers. The March of Dimes recognizes that continued research to identify new medical advances to prevent preterm birth is necessary in order to reach the new goal. The March of Dimes is investing in a nationwide network of five new prematurity research centers to understand preterm birth and find solutions to this still too-common problem.

The 2015 Premature Birth Report Card provides rates and grades for major cities or counties in each state, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It also provides preterm birth rates by race and ethnicity for each state and applies a disparities index that states.

Maine ranked first on the index with the smallest gaps between racial and ethnic groups in its preterm birth rate, while the District of Columbia had the largest. And, among the nation’s largest cities, Portland, Oregon has the lowest preterm birth rate at 7.2 percent.

The March of Dimes Board of Trustees set a new goal to lower the national preterm birth rate to 8.1 percent by 2020 and to 5.5 percent by 2030. Reaching the March of Dimes 2020 goal of 8.1 will mean that 210,000 fewer babies will be born preterm and achieving the 2030 goal will mean 1.3 million fewer babies will be born preterm, saving nearly $70 billion, the March of Dimes estimates. The March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign is guided by a Steering Committee of six leadership organizations. In addition to the March of Dimes, members include: the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP); the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG); the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP); the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO); the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN); and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). The March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.org or nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and Twitter.

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