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Georgia Receives Second March of Dimes NICU Family Support(R) Project
Date:11/6/2007

March of Dimes Selects Atlanta Medical Center for State's Second Site

ATLANTA, Nov. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --- The March of Dimes today announced that it has named Atlanta Medical Center as Georgia's second hospital recipient of its signature program, NICU Family Support(R). March of Dimes NICU Family Support(R) provides information and comfort to families of premature and other critically ill newborns being cared for in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah was the first recipient and launched its project in February 2006.

"Preparing for a new baby is a time of great excitement," said Mark Gibson, state director of March of Dimes Georgia chapter. "Families don't expect anything to go wrong, but each year approximately 1 in 8 newborns wind up in a NICU because they are born too soon, too small or with a birth defect. The experience can be overwhelming for families. NICU Family Support(R) aims to make the journey through newborn intensive care smoother and less traumatic for families."

The project is an important component of the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign, a multi-year effort to address the growing problem of premature birth, which is the leading cause of newborn death in America. The causes of nearly half of all premature births are unknown, leaving all families at risk. Other initiatives include March of Dimes Prematurity Awareness Month(R) in November and Every Baby Has a Story, a recently launched campaign uniting families to tell stories online of the babies in their lives and ultimately raise awareness of the ways to help every baby have a healthy start. For more information on Prematurity Awareness Month and Every Baby Has a Story, visit http://www.marchofdimes.com/everybaby.

In 2004, there were 17,703 preterm births in Georgia. In an average week in our state, 340 babies are born preterm. In 2006, 722 newborns stayed in the Atlanta Medical Center NICU, some for hours and some for months.

"The March of Dimes selected Atlanta Medical Center as its partner for NICU Family Support(R) because of its reputation for excellence and the quality care it provides to babies," Gibson said. "Atlanta Medical Center does incredible work every day to care for sick babies and their families. We want to support their efforts."

"We are excited to have been chosen as a March of Dimes NICU Family Support(R) site and are looking forward to this collaborative effort to support parents throughout their stay with us," says William Moore, president and chief executive officer of Atlanta Medical Center. "This is a wonderful opportunity to work with graduate NICU parents and staff to develop programs specific to the needs of our families."

Incorporating NICU families into every level of the project, March of Dimes NICU Family Support(R) addresses the needs of families throughout the hospitalization, during the transition home, and in the event of a newborn death. NICU Family Support(R) also includes a professional development component to provide hospital NICU staff with support and educational opportunities. The project will be led by a March of Dimes staff person who has professional NICU experience. An advisory committee made up of graduate NICU parents and NICU professionals will be involved in selecting activities and providing direct services to current NICU families. Each NICU family will receive a March of Dimes Parent Care Kit including informational books and materials to chart their baby's milestones.

The March of Dimes will be honoring Bob Moore, Atlanta division president for Publix Super Markets, during the Atlanta Medical Center presentation. Moore has eagerly served in multiple volunteer roles with March of Dimes and has been one of the top individual fundraisers in Georgia for many years.

Since its founding in 1901, Atlanta Medical Center has been serving the medical needs of the community and the region. The 460-bed tertiary care hospital is part of Tenet Georgia. Specialties include advanced surgery, cardiology, neurology, oncology, women's health, orthopedics, trauma and rehabilitation. The level II trauma center is supported by aeromedical services providing immediate transportation to critical patients throughout the state. The hospital campus also comprises a comprehensive cancer center, a Diabetes Metabolic Center, Sheffield HealthCare, a neighborhood community health center, as well as the Wellness Center, which houses the Highland Athletic Club, Atlanta Surgical Weight Loss Center and outpatient rehabilitation program. Atlanta Medical Center is accredited by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), the nation's oldest and largest hospital accreditation agency. Visit the Atlanta Medical Center Web site at http://www.atlantamedcenter.com.

The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes funds programs of research, community services, education and advocacy. For more information, visit the March of Dimes website at http://www.marchofdimes.com or its Spanish language website at http://www.nacersano.org.


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SOURCE March of Dimes
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