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May 15, 2015

To Our Supporters:

My wife and co-founder Dr. Geetanjali Akerkar has twice survived HELLP syndrome--a rare life-threatening complication of pregnancy. Although our family thrives today because of the generally excellent care we received, it nearly ended in tragedy the day before the birth of our first son when an admitting nurse failed to diagnose the onset of HELLP because she forgot to take my wife's blood pressure.

Although many hospitals in the United States deliver world-class care for labor and delivery, women and newborns experience wide variations in the care they receive depending on their region, economic situation, race/ethnicity, medical condition and many other factors. In recent years, the infant mortality and maternal mortality rates in the US have hovered around 6.0 and 0.2 per 1000 cases, respectively, more than double the rates of the best developed countries. If the US were able to match Sweden's rates, for example, it would avert over 14,000 deaths annually.

Our nation lags the rest of the world in part because of chronic underinvestment in perinatal/maternal care. Within the many needs, Day Before Birth in consultation with its advisors has chosen to focus on three areas that require urgent national attention:

  • Addressing disparities in rates of antenatal corticosteroid treatment (ACT)
  • Promoting quality improvement in perinatal/maternal care in birthing centers
  • Advocating for biotechnology research for novel approaches to the detection of preterm labor

Our major program for 2014--the "Time for ACTion" conference--stayed within budget and met the strict financial reporting and business policies required for a Federally-funded program. By earning the support of AHRQ, the March of Dimes, ACOG, Hologic and other partners, Day Before Birth assembled the largest and most diverse gathering of maternal child health experts to advocate for antenatal corticosteroid treatment in at least a decade. The early impact of the conference includes new initiatives within the Joint Commission Perinatal Core Measure Groups, State-Based Perinatal Collaboratives, and the Federal Collaborative Improvement & Innovation Network (COIIN) to Reduce Infant Mortality.

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We are most grateful for your support!

Sincerely,

Russell Ruthen, MBA

President, Day Before Birth

Day Before Birth is a non-profit public charity 501(c)(3) that is registered and incorporated in Massachusetts.