Virtua and March of Dimes Launch Preterm Birth Prevention Initiative in Burlington County

Pictured: Pam Gallus, AVP Patient Care Services, Virtua; , Cathleen Bennett, Acting Commissioner, NJ Department of Health; The Honorable Herb Conaway, M.D., (NJ-7); and Richard P. Miller, President and CEO of Virtua.

In the past 20 years, women in the U.S. have had a 30 percent increase in preterm birth due primarily to increased rates of late preterm birth. In an effort the eliminate preventable preterm births in Burlington County, a broad-based partnership of healthcare organizations and community leaders implemented Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait®, a program aiming to increase knowledge about risk factors of premature birth and change the attitudes and behaviors of providers and consumers that impact community-specific risk factors. The March of Dimes and the Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute developed this innovative community-based preterm birth prevention initiative.

Leaders in maternal and child health services, Virtua and the March of Dimes recently launched Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait® in Burlington County at Virtua Memorial in Mount Holly. Speakers discussed the history of the program, the issue of premature deliveries in New Jersey, the program’s initiative and goals, and the perspectives of the community partners who are involved.             

About Virtua 
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 primary and specialty physician practices with 300 physicians plus 115 additional practitioners, three health and wellness centers, two ambulatory care centers, three fitness centers, three acute care hospitals, five urgent care centers, 13 ambulatory surgery centers, home health services, two long-term care and rehabilitation centers, 13 paramedic units and a wide range of outpatient services. A leader in maternal and child health services, Virtua delivers nearly 8,000 babies a year. Virtua also provides employment and wellness services to 1,200 businesses and corporations. An innovator in clinical and information technology such as electronic medical records, Virtua is recognized for its groundbreaking affiliations with Penn Medicine and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and for an enterprise partnership with GE Healthcare. Virtua employs more than 8,700 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.
About March of Dimes
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs.   For the latest resources and information, visit or Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

About Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait® Program 
In 2008, the preterm birth rate was 12.5 percent in New Jersey, and the rate for African-Americans was 17.9 percent. To address this disproportionate risk of preterm birth among African-Americans, March of Dimes in partnership with Johnson & Johnson implemented the successful community-based prematurity prevention program, Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait® in Newark. The goal was to reduce by 8 percent the incidence of preterm birth among program participants in implementation sites with a focus on the African-American community. This program incorporated numerous known strategies for prematurity prevention, such as patient navigation; CenteringPregnancy®, a model of group prenatal care; and prenatal education and promoting the use of 17P.  For more information please visit

About Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson has partnered with the March of Dimes on the Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait® community program since 2006. Building on the success in Kentucky and New Jersey, Johnson & Johnson is partnering with the March of Dimes to implement Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait nationally. 

About Amerigroup Foundation
The Amerigroup Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Amerigroup, a wholly owned subsidiary of Anthem, Inc. Together, with local, regional and national organizations, the Amerigroup Foundation works to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Amerigroup and its affiliated health plans serve. Amerigroup Foundation funding is focused on strategic initiatives working to address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative with five areas of focus: Healthy Heart, Cancer Prevention, Healthy Maternal Practices, Type 2 Diabetes Prevention, and Healthy Active Lifestyle. These disease states and medical conditions include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Associate Giving program which provides a 50 percent match of associates’ campaign pledges, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. To learn more about the Amerigroup Foundation, please visit


March 15, 2016