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Hopkins Nursing Birth Companions Program Receives Premier Inc. Award


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Posted: 2/29/2008

Premier Inc. and its member hospitals have again recognized the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing Birth Companions program for its advocacy, education, and support in improving maternal and newborn outcomes for Baltimores underserved pregnant women.

The Birth Companions program was one of six organizations nationally recognized as a finalist for the 16th annual Monroe E. Trout Premier Cares Award. The Cares Award, sponsored by Premier Inc. and its member hospitals, honors exemplary efforts by not-for-profit organizations to improve access to health care for the underserved. Representatives from the Birth Companions program were recognized and presented with a cash award of $24,000 during Premiers annual Governance Education Conference, which took place January 21-23.

Since 1999, nursing students, specially trained as Birth Companions, have provided free doula care to poor women in the greater Baltimore area. The student nurse doulas are trained to partner with mothers before birth, throughout labor, and after birth with emotional, informational, and physical support.

Through the Birth Companions Program, our students have outstanding opportunities to learn and use their skills in serving families and [it] has enhanced the community outreach focus of the School, said JHUSON instructor Shirley Van Zandt, MS, MPH, CRNP, RN.

Expectant mothers working with Birth Companions benefit from improved healthcare for themselves and their infants. Program participants are less likely to have pre-term or low-birth weight newborns compared to state and national indicators. Birth Companion student nurses benefit from specialized training in culturally sensitive care and learn about the diverse lifestyles, health needs, and health care preferences among different ethnic populations.

Its an honor to have secured funding for the second year in a row, to continue to grow our program in service to women in the East Baltimore community said Program Coordinator Betty Jordan, DNSc, RN, and to educate students in this community-based program.