PRINCETON, N.J., Dec. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Betsy Ryan, Esq., president and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association, today was presented with the FDR Visionary Award from the March of Dimes, New Jersey Chapter.
The FDR Visionary Award is presented for outstanding leadership and support of the mission of the March of Dimes to prevent premature birth, birth defects and infant mortality. Ryan received the honor at the March of Dimes' Celebration of New Beginnings breakfast in Edison. The Celebration of New Beginnings event was founded 13 years ago by March of Dimes and Pfizer to increase public awareness of the promise of cutting-edge research and public health programs in maternal and infant health.
"Betsy Ryan is being honored by the March of Dimes for her demonstrated leadership in one of New Jersey's most important sectors – healthcare – where she continues to help make New Jersey a national leader in the industry," said Gina Radice, executive director of the March of Dimes North Jersey Office.
Under Ryan's leadership, NJHA's Institute for Quality and Patient Safety has made maternal and child health a priority. It formed a statewide Perinatal Collaborative in 2008 and later made perinatal care a central part of its Partnership for Patients effort, a nationwide quality improvement initiative led by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. NJHA has been awarded a federal contract as one of 26 "hospital engagement networks," or HENs, working nationwide to improve quality.
Under the HEN, NJHA worked closely with the N.J. Department of Health and the state's hospitals to encourage the statewide adoption of hospital policies to end the practice of early elective deliveries. The March of Dimes noted New Jersey's improvement in its annual performance report card, reporting that New Jersey's late preterm birth rate fell to 7.7 percent last year, from 7.9 percent in 2011. The state's overall rate of preterm birth declined as well, from 11.7 in 2011 to 11.2 last year.
More dramatic progress has been measured to date, with New Jersey's early elective delivery rate now falling to less than 1 percent, based on data collected under NJHA's HEN. In 2014, the initiative will turn its focus on efforts to address maternal hemorrhage during delivery, reduce maternal/fetal harm and improve breastfeeding rates.
"Improving perinatal health has been a central part of our quality improvement efforts here and we're very proud of the progress New Jersey has made in reducing premature births," said Ryan. "I'm honored by the March of Dimes' recognition of that work, and we pledge our continued focus on our common goal of giving babies a healthy start in life."
Ryan is an attorney who previously practiced law in Burlington County and went on to serve as assistant counsel under former Gov. Jim Florio and chief of staff of the state Department of Health. She also served as a regional executive for the American Hospital Association and the Healthcare Association of New York State. Ryan received her law degree from Seton Hall University School of Law and a bachelor's degree from Rutgers University. She lives in Florence with her husband, Sam, and son, Ryan.
SOURCE New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA)