Each year, ACOG districts and sections submit projects to be considered for the Council of District Chairs Service Recognition Award. The award is given in recognition of outstanding activities contributed to the field of ob-gyn. The Kentucky Section was nominated for the award this year for its work with the Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait (HBWW) initiative.
In 2006, the Kentucky Department for Public Health Division of Maternal and Child Health, Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute, and Kentucky March of Dimes partnered on HBWW to address Kentucky’s rising prematurity rate. The initiative was designed to help ensure that women have the care and information they need to maintain healthy, full-term pregnancies.
HBWW worked with health care providers and community partners at three targeted intervention sites in Kentucky to reduce premature birth. These sites were paired with control sites by a real-world ecological design using bundling of evidence-based interventions in academic, private, and clinic-based locations through linking clinical and public health services. The Kentucky Section collaborated with HBWW in both the intervention and control sites.
Community hospitals, health departments, and March of Dimes staff worked together to develop strategies to move out of their silos, identify gaps in community resources, and improve systems of care for pregnant women across agency boundaries. Providers were trained on the consequences of preterm delivery. Patient education and support were enhanced with special attention paid to health literacy and understanding.
Community toolkits were developed, including a PowerPoint presentation, fact sheets, and patient handouts in English and Spanish on various topics related to preterm birth. These toolkits are available on the HBWW website. Focus groups found that comparing pictures of the brain at 35 weeks to the brain of a full-term baby was most effective in explaining to mothers why the last few weeks of pregnancy are important. The March of Dimes created a card and flier displaying this information, which can be ordered from the March of Dimes website.
The overall effect of HBWW on Kentucky’s preterm birth rate has been dramatic. Between 2007 and 2008, the state’s rate of preterm birth dropped 7.6% in a single year, the largest decrease of any of Kentucky’s contiguous states or other states in the south. Preterm birth rates at HBWW intervention sites have continued to drop. March of Dimes has expanded the Kentucky program and now has a total of eight program sites across the state.
With the success of HBWW in reducing rates of preterm birth in Kentucky, this model could be applied in other communities across the US. March of Dimes has already approved additional pilot projects based on the Kentucky model in New Jersey and Texas.
ACOG recognizes the hard work and determination of all the districts and sections nominated for the CDC Service Recognition Award:
- District I: Massachusetts Section, Perinatal Quality Collaborative
- District II: Rochester Gynecology Clinic for Women with Special Needs
- District III: The OBesity Project (CDC Service Recognition Award winner)
- District IV: Reviewing and Reporting on District Perinatal Mortality Data Project (CDC Service Recognition Award winner)
- District VI: Mentorship Program
- District VIII: Nevada Section, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Project
- District IX: Speakers Bureau Project
- Armed Forces District: Air Force Section, Obstetric Quality Initiative
More information on all these submissions is available on the District and Section Activities website.