WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., March 14, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- March of Dimes has announced a $1.1 million grant from the Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. to support programs across the country that help prevent premature birth and improve mom and baby health.
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 funding provided by the Anthem Foundation will support March of Dimes community grants for CenteringPregnancy®, smoking cessation programs and programs to prevent unnecessary early elective delivery.
"This grant allows the 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 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 $1.1 million grant to the March of Dimes is part of Anthem Foundation's ongoing commitment to addressing health disparities and improving public health across the country. Through its Healthy Generations program, the Anthem 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 Samitt, MD, chief clinical officer at Anthem, Inc. "We're 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."
The Anthem Foundation grant will enable the March of Dimes to make CenteringPregnancy, a group prenatal care model, available to thousands of women in Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
The grant also will provide smoking cessation services to women in Maine, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Efforts in Connecticut and West Virginia will focus on reducing unnecessary early elective deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy.
The grant also will support the Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait® community program, which integrates public and clinical health, improves systems of care, and reduces preterm birth through a range of interventions, in Kansas, Kentucky and New York.
The new grant continues a longstanding relationship between Anthem Foundation and March of Dimes to improve maternal and infant health. Most recently, in 2015-2016, a $1 million Anthem Foundation grant 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 Foundation
The Anthem Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. and through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes the inherent commitment of Anthem, Inc. to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem, Inc. and its affiliated health plans serve. 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 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' pledges, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. To learn more about the Anthem Foundation, please visit http://www.anthem.foundation and its blog at http://anthemfoundation.tumblr.com.
About the March of Dimes
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs. For the latest resources and health information, visit our websites marchofdimes.org and nacersano.org. To participate in our annual signature fundraising event, visit marchforbabies.org. If you have been affected by prematurity or birth defects, visit our shareyourstory.org community to find comfort and support. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram and Twitter.
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SOURCE March of Dimes