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Montefiore and March of Dimes Launch NICU Family Support Center

New Center Designed to Make Neonatal Intensive Care Experience More Manageable for Families 

New York, NY (November 12, 2008) - Montefiore Medical Center has been chosen as the site for a March of Dimes NICU Family Support Center in New York City. The NICU Family Support Center is a partnership between March of Dimes and Montefiore Medical Center and is the first of its kind in New York State. The Center will provide March of Dimes materials and internet access for families with infants being cared for in Montefiore's neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), which is a highly specialized medical environment that provides expert care to premature infants. The Family Support Center is designed to help make the NICU experience more manageable for families, and is funded by a 3-year, $100,000 grant from March of Dimes New York Chapter.

The NICU Family Support Center launch coincides with March of Dimes Sixth annual Prematurity Awareness Day. In recognition of National Prematurity Awareness Day, a proclamation from Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr., was presented by his Director of Health and Senior Policy, Meghan Lynch.

"The partnership between Montefiore and The March of Dimes provides our patients and their families with the very best in specialty medical care and the resources and support that are both critical and comforting when a baby is born prematurely," said Steven M. Safyer, MD, president and CEO of Montefiore Medical Center.  "Montefiore's dedication to improving the health of babies through innovative medical care, patient education and research is key to accomplishing our mission to transform health and enrich lives."

"March of Dimes NICU Family Support is acollaboration between NICU staff, NICU families and the March of Dimes. Built upon the incredible care Montefiore already provides, NICU Family Support complements existing services with proven, innovative, vital comfort for parents and their babies," said Liza Cooper, Director, March of Dimes NICU Family Support.

Each year, approximately 1 in 10 newborns is admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in the United States.  The number of babies born prematurely has increased dramatically over the last three decades, up nearly 31 percent. In 2003, over half a million newborns, or 12.5 percent of all babies born in the U.S., were born too soon. Over 28,000 pre-term babies were born in New York State, and the preterm rate in the Bronx is 14.8 percent. A significant number of those babies will suffer lifelong health problems as a result.

During the month of November, March of Dimes Chapters host events across the country to bring attention to the growing rates of pre term birth and to help raise public awareness.

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