Preemie Matters - July 2009

In this issue of Preemie Matters: New Details: Fall '09 National Prematurity Summit •  August Conference to Spotlight Prematurity & Perinatal Mental Health  •  MedImmune  •  Expands Synagis Access for Uninsured Preemie Infants  •  Study Examines Unexplained late Preterm Births  •  Save the Date: Seventh Annual Promotores & Community Health Workers Conference  •  AAP Policy Statement on Counseling Families of Extreme Preemies

New Details: Fall '09 National Prematurity Summit

October 8-9 in Arlington, VA, the March of Dimes, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, and the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses will join forces to convene a first-of-its-kind national summit on prematurity. The Symposium on Quality Improvement to Prevent Prematurity is intended to 1) Enhance prematurity prevention efforts in the US through increased quality improvement and patient safety programs and to 2) Generate action plans for stakeholder groups outlining education and interventions to reduce prematurity. Keynote speaker Donald Berwick, MD, MPP, FRCP is president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Sessions will cover a wide range of topics under the themes of healthi insurers and health systems; policy issues on perinatal quality improvement; clinical, hospital and physician initiatives; perinatal quality collaboratives; action steps and future directions for preventing premature births; and achieving and sustaining high quality health care for preemies. For more information or to register, go to Send questions to

August Conference to Spotlight Prematurity & Perinatal Mental Health

August 6-7, the Annual Conference of Postpartum Support International (PSI) in Los Angeles, CA will bring together stakeholders concerned about perinatal mental health issues, including practitioners, advocates, volunteer leaders, researchers, and others. And the event will spotlight issues of premature birth and perinatal mental health with a special session, "Mending Precarious Links: Parents and Infants in Intensive Care," led by Vladimir Lipovestky, MD, PsyD, FIPA. Dr. Lipovetsky completed his psychiatric residency and a fellowship in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at the Resnick UCLA Neuro-Psychiatric Institute, and is a founding member of THRIVE Infant Family Program. The topic is of special importance to parents of preemies and the professionals who work with them, since prenatal anxiety disorders have been shown to increase the risk of prematurit and prematurity increases the risk of postpartum depression (PPD) and other postpartum mood disorders in mothers. For more information about the conference and to register, go to For more about PSI, click here.

MedImmune Expands Synagis Access for Uninsured Preemie Infants

MedImmune has announced that it is expanding access for eligible premature infants to receive the drug Synagis at no cost, as part of the MedImmune Assistance Program. The goal is to provide the antibody at no cost to qualifying patients who do not have health insurance and whose family household income falls within a certain range of the Federal Poverty Level guidelines established by the US Department of Health and Human Serives (HHS0. Synagis is a biologic medicine known as a monoclonal antibody administered monthly to high-risk infants to prevent serious lower respiratory tract infection caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a leading cause of viral respiratory infection among infants. This significant expansion of the program became effective July 1, 2009. The MedImmune Assistance Program is administered as part of the Synagis Reimbursement Hotline and can be reached by calling 1-877-778-9010. A health care provider can review the patient's eligibility with a program specialist. For more about Synagis, click here.

Study Examines Unexplained Late Preterm Births

A new report published in the journal Pediatrics finds a "concerning" pattern of late preterm births from non-spontaneous labors and unexplained medical indications. The study's authors note that these infants face increased morbidity risk compared to other late preterm babies born in the same time-frame from spontaneous labors or other medically necessary indications. The research team used the 2001 US Birth Cohort Linked Birth/Death files of 3,483,496 single births and found that approximately 75 percent of the late preterm births were linked to maternal medical conditions, obstetric complications, major congenital problems, or spontaneous labor (not induced). However, 23 percent had no noted medical indication to explain the preterm delivery. The researchers conclude, "Given the excess risk of mortality, patients and providers need to discuss the risks of delivering a preterm infant in the absence of medical indications at 34 to 36 weeks." For the abstract, click here.

Save the Date: Seventh Annual Promotores & Community Health Workers Conference

December 4-5 in Burbank, CA, Vision y Compromiso will host their Seventh Annual Promotores and Community Health Workers Conference, drawing almost 1,000 CHWs and promotores from California, Tijuana and several other states. Connecting with those who have a hand on the pulse of community health, the conference will focus on sharing resources, creative learning opportunities to increase the capacity to better serve communities, and informing policy-makers and public officials about this vast resource. To find out more about attending or sharing your prematurity-related message with this audience, contact Isalia Zumaya at or (213) 202-5359.

AAP Policy Statement on Counseling Familes of Extreme Preemies

Early this month the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a new policy statement, "Counseling Families of Extreme Preemies," based on a new clinical report, "Antenatal Counseling Regarding Resuscitation at an Extremely Low Gestational Age." AAP offers guidance to physicians and hospitals who are counseling families in these difficult situations, and advises that parents be given accurate information about the prognosis of their infant. The policy statement goes on to add that "Whenever an extremely premature infant is delivered, a qualified individual such as a neonatologist should be present in the delivery room to manage this complex situation." For more details on this policy, click here.


Information is reported as provided and does not necessarily represent the view of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. A complete copy of HMHB's disclaimer is available on our website.