Virginia focus on infant healthcare delivers results

virginia-newThe start of November 2015 brings national recognition to the Commonwealth for its strides in ensuring babies in Virginia get a healthy start in life. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) accepted honors from both the March of Dimes and Text4baby on behalf of the many partners throughout the state who help establish infant wellness.

The March of Dimes Virginia Chapter presented VDH with the Virginia Apgar award November 5. This award recognizes states and territories that accepted and met the challenge from the March of Dimes and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials to lower their preterm birth rate by 8 percent between 2009 and 2014. The award is named in honor of Virginia Apgar, MD, who developed the five-point APGAR score to evaluate an infant’s health at birth.

“Virginians are committed to ensuring that every infant has the opportunity to thrive,” said State Health Commissioner Marissa J. Levine, MD, MPH, FAAFP. “We are collectively working to reduce early elective deliveries, smoking cessation during pregnancy and reducing teen pregnancy, and we are seeing results. Last year the state’s preterm birth rate decreased from 11 to 9.2. This decrease is a testament of our unyielding commitment to a strong start for children in Virginia and our ongoing progress towards opportunity for all infants to thrive.”

The Commonwealth was also recognized for its outstanding achievements in the 2015 Annual Text4baby State Enrollment Contest. Virginia earned first place in the Large State group, enrolling 25 per 1,000 estimated new pregnant women and moms into the service. During the contest period, 2,213 new users enrolled in the Text4baby service in Virginia.

“Virginia’s health and prosperity hinges on the health and vitality of its children,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources William A. Hazel, Jr., MD. “We’re lucky in Virginia that groups ranging from health care systems to nonprofit agencies are partnering together to make sure our children get a healthy start.”

Text4baby is the nation’s largest and only free mobile health service promoting maternal and child health for pregnant women and mothers with infants under one year old, through text messaging and a mobile app.


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