Preemie Matters – November 2009

In this issue of Preemie Matters: U.S. Earns Disappointing "D" on 2009 Preterm Birth Report Card  •  Maryland Premature Infant Health Network: Addressing Needs of Preemie Families Statewide  •  New Jersey's Early Intervention Efforts for Preemies  •  New from CDC: Provider Toolkit on H1N1 & Children with High-Risk Conditions  •  Keeping Prematurity Prominent on the Healthy People 2020 Draft Objectives

U.S. Earns a Disappointing "D" on 2009 Preterm Birth Report Card

For the second year in a row, the United States has received a "D" on the March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card, reflecting the fact that more than half a million American newborns did not get a healthy start in 2009. This year seven states improved their status by one letter grade on the March of Dimes annual report, while two states fell in performance. As in 2008, no state earned an "A," and Vermont earned the lone "B." The good news? Criteria affecting preterm birth did improve in many states. For example, 27 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico lowered their late preterm birth rates. A significant number of states also reduced their percentages of women of childbearing age who smoke and the percentage of women of childbearing age who are uninsured. Grades for the report are determined by comparing preterm birth rates to the national Healthy People 2010 preterm birth objective, which is 7.6 percent of all live births. To view the 2009 report cards by state, click here.

Maryland Premature Infant Health Network: Addressing Needs of Preemie Families Statewide

Many premature infants leaving the hospital do not have a safety net in place to ensure that they receive the special care they need. Which is why advocates in Maryland created the Maryland Premature Infant Health Network, bringing together stakeholders from around the state to look at ways to increase the resources available to the families of premature babies. The Maryland Premature Infant Health Network will next convene on Thursday, January 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Howard County Health Department in Columbia, MD. For more information or to RSVP, contact Jayme Halko at 410.812.4510 or The event is supported and funded by MedImmune, LLC.

New Jersey's Early Intervention Efforts for Preemies

Through a fine-tuned network of agencies and organizations in New Jersey, families of babies born prematurely and who have delays or disabilities are getting the support they need to meet the developmental and health needs of their young children. From the registry stage onward, families from diverse racial, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds receive vital information, early intervention services, and decision-making involvement at each stage along the way. To learn more about the cooperative network that gives New Jersey's preemie families access to a wide array of supportive services for their children's special needs, see the column by Diana Autin, executive co-director of the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network of New Jersey, featured in a recent edition of the Maternal and Child Health Programs "Pulse" publication.

New from CDC: Provider Toolkit on H1N1 & Children with High-Risk Conditions

Th US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a new toolkit on H1N1 and children with high-risk conditions. Infants born prematurely are among those children considered most at-risk for complications of the H1N1 flu. The toolkit, designed for health care providers, includes an informational page on access to the H1N1 vaccine, a brochure and template letters for parents and caregivers, and posters for office settings. You can access the toolkit online. For more CDC information on H1N1, visit

Keeping Prematurity Prominent on the Healthy People 2020 Draft Objectives

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is inviting the public to comment on the draft objectives for Healthy People 2020. For 30 years, Healthy People has provided a set of national 10-year health promotion and disease prevention goals aimed at improving the health of Americans. Among the objectives are points focused specifically on preterm birth. Your comments will contribute to a broad conversation on the next set of objectives, and can help ensure that important issues such as prematurity continue to be an important part of Healthy People. Through December 31, 2009, you can view the proposed draft objectives, comment on them, comment on the topic areas, suggest additional objectives, and suggest topic areas you feel are missing from the draft set. Go to to get started.


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.