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Exempla Healthcare Becomes First Colorado Sponsor of March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign.

DENVER -- Organization to Provide $50,000 Donation plus Assistance in Educating Public about Prematurity

Exempla Healthcare has become the first Colorado sponsor of the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign, it was announced today. In addition to a $50,000 donation, the organization, through its hospitals, will help the March of Dimes educate pregnant women and the general public about prematurity. This campaign is in alignment with Exempla's focus on quality and patient safety. The hospitals managed by Exempla Healthcare are Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center, Exempla Lutheran Medical Center and Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital (located in Lafayette, Wheat Ridge and Denver, respectively).

The March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign is a five-year initiative aimed at decreasing the number of premature births and raising awareness of prematurity as a common and serious infant-health problem. Over the life of the campaign, the March of Dimes will invest $75 million nationwide in research and education to achieve these goals.

Prematurity is defined as the birth of a baby three or more weeks before its due date. Since 1981, the incidence of prematurity has increased by 29%. Prematurity has been identified both as the number-one cause of newborn death in the U.S. and (for babies who survive) a leading contributor to lifelong disabilities such as blindness, cerebral palsy and mental retardation. More than half the time, the causes of prematurity are not known. The national expense of prematurity has been estimated to be $13.6 billion per year. Both in Colorado and nationwide, one in eight babies is born prematurely.

Endorsers of the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign include the national and Colorado branches of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, plus the Colorado Hospital Association.

"We are very excited to work with Exempla Healthcare on this important project and so pleased to name Exempla as our first Prematurity Campaign sponsor," said Shelly Goodchild, state director of the March of Dimes Colorado Chapter. "We hope to develop programs with Exempla that can be used as models elsewhere in the state."

"Every day at our hospitals we experience the devastating impact prematurity has on babies and their families," said Jeff Selberg, president and chief executive officer of Exempla Healthcare. "No organization is focused on addressing prematurity on the scale that the March of Dimes is, from basic-science research to connecting one-on-one with pregnant women. Working together, we want to achieve results for our patients and give every baby the chance for a healthy start."

Exempla Healthcare is a not-for-profit, community-based healthcare system. It is sponsored by the LMC Community Foundation and the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, and is dedicated to fostering healing and health to the people and communities it serves.

Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes is a nonprofit health organization whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality. To achieve its mission, the March of Dimes funds research, community services, education and advocacy. Currently in Colorado, the March of Dimes funds $1.3 million in grants, plus operates its own healthy-baby programs. More about the March of Dimes, plus free infant and maternal health information, is available at marchofdimes.com (English) and nacersano.org (Spanish).
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Feb 22, 2005
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