172923 Improving Pregnancy Outcomes: The Surgeon General's Conference on Preterm Birth

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 10:40 AM

Janis Biermann, MS , Education and Health Promotion, March of Dimes, White Plains, NY
March of Dimes initiated its Prematurity Campaign in 2003 to raise awareness about the growing problem of prematurity and to reduce the rate of preterm birth. Prematurity is the leading cause of neonatal death, and many babies born early can have cerebral palsy, mental retardation, blindness and deafness. There is no known cause for almost half of the 503,000 babies born preterm each year. Recognizing the need to elevate prematurity on the national public health agenda, and with the belief that public policy can shape pregnancy outcomes, March of Dimes initiated the Prematurity Research Expansion and Education for Mothers Act which was signed into law in December, 2006. One of the four provisions of the bill is to convene a Surgeon General's conference, scheduled for June, 2008. Two goals of this conference are 1.) Increasing awareness of preterm birth as a serious, common and costly public health problem by communicating the issue to the public, policymakers and scientists and 2.) Establishing an agenda for public and private sectors that will speed the identification of and treatments for the causes of and risk factors for preterm labor and delivery. Innovations in research and how to address the disparities in preterm birth will be considered during this Conference. The highlights of the presentation to the Surgeon General and his comments will be presented. A case will be made for how public policy can help to improve pregnancy outcomes by focusing on reducing the rate and hopefully the disparities, in preterm birth.

Learning Objectives:
1. Articulate how a Surgeon General's conference can improve pregnancy outcomes. 2. Discuss the role of innovative research in understanding preterm labor and delivery. 3. List three recommendations made to the Surgeon General and what his responses.

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, Pregnancy Outcomes

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the co-chair of the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign and will be attending the Surgeon Geberal's conference on preterm birth.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.