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AMERIGROUP Public Policy Institute, Black Leadership Forum, Inc. Convene Summit to Examine Preterm Birth Policy Solutions
Date:7/22/2009

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2009 /PRNewswire/ -- National leaders in maternal health, health disparities and public policy will look for ways to combat the devastating impact of preterm births on communities of color at a summit today co-convened by The AMERIGROUP Public Policy Institute and the Black Leadership Forum, Inc. and hosted by the Developing Families Center in Northeast, Washington, D.C., an integrated family health, social supports/case management and early childhood development center.

The summit will feature presentations by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health. The event will highlight initiatives that help mothers give birth to full-term, healthy babies and encourage the spread of these programs, a step that could significantly improve the long-term health of African Americans and other minorities. More than 530,000 babies are born preterm (earlier than 37 weeks gestation) every year, and the preterm birth rate among African Americans is 18.5 percent. Studies have found babies born preterm are more susceptible to a range of childhood diseases and lingering health problems including neurological and physical disabilities. One-third of all infant mortalities in the United States are due to prematurity.

"Every child in America should get a healthy start in life, but the stark reality is that far too many do not," said James G. Carlson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AMERIGROUP. "In particular, it is an injustice that almost one out of every five African American children is born prematurely and begins life facing a host of serious health problems. And it is unacceptable to allow this to continue. We are confident that the group attending this summit today will spark the dialogue, and ac
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SOURCE AMERIGROUP Public Policy Institute
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