March of Dimes gets grant from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation

March of DimesMarch of Dimes, the leader in the fight for the health of all moms and babies, announced its latest collaboration with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation aimed at reducing preterm births and improving maternal and infant health in Virginia.

Premature birth is the largest contributor to infant death in the U.S., and pregnancy-related death has more than doubled over the past 25 years. The funding is part of a $1.5 million grant provided by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation’s parent foundation to support programs and interventions in 19 states across the country.

“According to The National Center for Health Statistics, this year marks the third consecutive increase in preterm births after steady declines over the previous seven years,” says Lisa F. Waddell, MD, MPH March of Dimes deputy medical officer. “Among non-Hispanic black women and Hispanic women, the preterm birth rate increase was even greater. March of Dimes is collaborating with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation to expand evidence-based programs to address this alarming trend.”

“The Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation is committed to helping improve the health and wellness of the residents of Virginia and helping to ensure greater access to critical programs that can have a positive impact on our state.” said Maureen Dempsey, M.D., Anthem’s senior clinical officer, and chair of the 2019 March of Dime Richmond March for Babies. “Together with the March of Dimes we are working to ensure at-risk mothers in our communities have access to programs and services that will encourage and facilitate healthy prenatal practices aimed at reducing the number of preterm births and helping to create a healthier generations of Americans.”

The Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation’s grant, will support March of Dimes’ effort to address the urgent health crisis facing mothers and babies in Virginia and provide vital resources to proven interventions that can assist in preventing premature births and maternal and infant mortality.

Programs that will be supported include:

CenteringPregnancy®— A group prenatal care model will be made available to additional women in Virginia.  CenteringPregnancy has been demonstrated to reduce the incidence of preterm birth especially among women of color. This care model brings together  pregnant women with similar due dates to meet for up to ten sessions with each visit lasting 90 minutes to two hours, giving women more time with their provider.

In addition to the grant support, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation also engages with local March of Dimes through March for Babies, bringing the total support to more than $110,000.

The new grant continues a longstanding relationship between Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation and their parent foundation, and March of Dimes to improve maternal and infant health. Since 2011 Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation’s parent foundation has provided more than $5 million in funding which has supported programs reaching more than 36,000 pregnant women across the country, more than 17,000 of them were reached through CenteringPregnancy.

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