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March of Dimes Award Grant to Department of Family Medicine at Memorial to Improve the Health of Mothers and Babies
grantbirthingcenter.jpgThe March of Dimes Rhode Island Chapter has awarded a $20,000 grant to the Department of Family Medicine at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island to support Group Prenatal Care through CenteringPregnancy® as part of a Family Medicine Residency Program. This project is directed at maternal and child health needs in Rhode Island. It aims to successfully and sustainably implement group prenatal visits as part of the family medicine training program at Memorial Hospital.

Specifically, the project aims to improve the adequacy of prenatal care, improve rates of breastfeeding, reduce smoking rates among pregnant women and improve patient satisfaction with prenatal care at the Family Care Center (the outpatient practice of Memorial).  Over time, group prenatal visits are also expected to improve the rates of preterm birth and low birth weight babies in the community.  Additionally, physicians in training will have a better understanding of the key elements in prenatal care as a result of facilitating these group visits with faculty support.

The project will enhance prenatal care through group prenatal visits that focus on maternal education, behavior change and healthy habits. Studies of this type of care, based on the CenteringPregnancy® model, have shown that women participating in group sessions develop significantly better knowledge of important perinatal health issues than those receiving the traditional individual care. Additionally, women participating in group visits feel more prepared for labor and delivery and have higher rates of breastfeeding compared to women attending individual visits. Perhaps what is most striking is that studies of group prenatal visits have consistently shown a reduction in low birth weight and preterm births, even among higher risk groups of women.
This grant is one of many that the March of Dimes awards in pursuit of its mission to prevent birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

"We will use the March of Dimes grant as seed money to meet our objective of providing pregnant mothers with group prenatal visits, which is an evidence-based, innovative, successful, and well-liked model of prenatal care," said Susanna Magee, MD, Director of Maternal Child Health at Memorial Hospital. "We are grateful to those volunteers who support the March of Dimes by participation in events like March for Babies or other important fundraising events. That participation and those donations make this grant possible," she said.

Drs. Susanna Magee, Jordan White and Mary Beth Sutter are the family medicine doctors at Memorial Hospital responsible for the administration of this grant and the development of the prenatal group visit program. For more information, visit Memorial Hospital's website at
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