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News Room: Press Releases

Virtua and March of Dimes improve the health of South Jersey babies

March of Dimes

Left to right: Mike Kotzen, Virtua Voorhees Vice President and COO; Ninfa Saunders, Virtua Executive Vice President for Health Services; Barbara Hansen, Administrative Director, Virtua Voorhees Maternal Child Health; Melanie Hoffman and her son Joshua, the March of Dimes Ambassador Family; John B. Tedeschi, MD, Virtua pediatrician and Chairman of the Board of Directors, South Jersey Division of the New Jersey Chapter of the March of Dimes; Ed O’Malley, Board Chairman Emeritus, South Jersey Division of the New Jersey Chapter of the March of Dimes; and Susan Sczechowicz, Community Director, South Jersey Division of the New Jersey Chapter of the March of Dimes.

For more than a decade, Virtua and the March of Dimes have partnered to improve the health of babies by working to prevent birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. The March of Dimes’ National Ambassador Family recently visited Virtua Voorhees, putting a face to the important mission.

The National Ambassador Family travels the country participating in meetings, special events and fundraising activities to share the March of Dimes story. Melanie Hoffman and her son, Joshua, who was born premature, shared their inspiring story. The Hoffman family credits the research and treatments funded by the March of Dimes with helping Joshua overcome his premature birth. He spent 3½ months in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) at Baptist Hospital in Miami, Fla., and had many surgeries and treatments, including heart surgery, laser eye surgery and blood transfusions. Today, Josh is a bright, energetic and inspiring child who continues to reach for the stars.

Virtua delivers nearly 7,600 babies a year at hospitals in Voorhees and Mt. Holly, more than any other healthcare organization in the region. Babies with special needs at birth are offered the highest level of neonatal intensive care. Most newborns come to the neonatal intensive care unit at Voorhees or the Special Care Nursery (SCN) at Memorial because they are premature or born in multiples. Others have difficulty breathing or have made a difficult transition into the world and need a little extra help.

Dedicated to treating newborns with special needs, these units are staffed by teams of board-certified neonatologists, neonatal nurse practitioners and neonatal nurses who are in the hospitals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The teams work closely with parents in a supportive environment to determine the best treatment for their baby.

The NICU offers the latest technology in ventilators, electronic monitoring and other leading-edge medical therapies. In 2004, Virtua Voorhees was designated a Regional Perinatal Center by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. Additionally, in 2005, Virtua Voorhees opened a Ronald McDonald Family Room in the NICU. This room provides families of hospitalized newborns a soothing place to relax, complete with kitchen, sitting area and Internet access.

As one of New Jersey’s largest health systems, Virtua helps people be well, get well and stay well through a comprehensive range of health care services. Services are delivered through three health and wellness centers, three fitness centers, four acute care hospitals, primary and specialty physician practices with more than 240 physicians, urgent care centers, seven ambulatory surgery centers, home health services, two long-term care and rehabilitation centers, 12 paramedic units and a wide range of outpatient services. A leader in maternal and child health services, Virtua delivers more than 8,000 babies a year. Virtua also provides employment and wellness services to 1,700 businesses and corporations. An innovator in clinical and information technology such as electronic medical records, Virtua is recognized for its ground-breaking partnerships with GE Healthcare, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the Fox Chase Cancer Center. It is the official orthopedic provider for the Philadelphia Flyers. Virtua employs more than 8,400 people and has been honored as the #1 Best Place to Work in the Delaware Valley every year since 2007. It is the recipient of the Consumer Choice Award from the National Research Corporation. For more information, visit  www.virtua.org or www.virtuabroadcastnetwork.org.