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Birth Companions Program Finalist for 2007 Monroe E. Trout Premier Cares Award


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Posted: 1/24/2007

The Birth Companions program of the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing has received national recognition for the advocacy, education, and support services it provides to underserved pregnant women in the Baltimore area.

Birth Companions received $22,000 as one of five finalists for the 15th Annual Monroe Trout Premier Cares Award, announced at a national healthcare conference of hospital and healthcare industry leaders in Phoenix, AZ.

Since 1999, nursing students specially trained as Birth Companions have provided free “doula” care to poor women in Baltimore and Prince George’s County, Md. The student nurse doulas are trained to partner with mothers before birth, throughout labor, and after birth with valuable emotional, informational, and physical support.

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

The Birth Companions initiative was one of six programs to be nationally recognized as finalists for the 15th annual Cares Award. The Cares Award, sponsored by the not-for-profit hospital alliance Premier, Inc. and its member hospitals, honors exemplary efforts by not-for-profit organizations to improve access to healthcare for the underserved. Representatives from the Birth Companions program were presented with a cash prize during Premier’s annual Governance Education Conference, which takes place in Phoenix January 22 – 24.

Premier receives 150 to 200 applications annually for the prestigious award. A panel of hospital professionals, health experts, and business industry leaders selects the winner and five additional finalists, which all receive grants for their health education and promotion efforts.

“We are proud to support the efforts of organizations that are making a real difference in people’s health every day,” said Richard A. Norling, Premier’s President and CEO. “With this award, we strive to recognize those programs that are helping us achieve Premier’s core purpose of ‘improving the health of communities.’”

This year’s Cares Award recipient was the South Bay Asthma Advocacy Program of National City, Calif., which provides home-based intervention for families with asthmatic children.

The other four finalists for the award, each of which received at least $20,000 to put toward their community programs, are:
• Children’s Advocacy Project (CAP) of the Community Health Center of Central Wyoming, Casper, Wyo.
• Dental Health Initiative of Bethlehem Partnership for a Healthy Community, Bethlehem, Pa. • Metta Health Center of the Lowell Community Health Center, Lowell, Mass.
• Vision Health and Dental Health Initiatives of Palmetto Health, Columbia, S.C.

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About Premier, 2006 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient
Serving 1,700 hospitals, Premier Inc. is the largest healthcare alliance in the United States dedicated to improving patient outcomes while safely reducing the cost of care. Owned by not-for-profit hospitals, Premier operates the nation’s largest healthcare purchasing network, the most comprehensive repository of hospital clinical and financial information and one of the largest policy-holder owned, hospital professional liability risk-retention groups in healthcare. Headquartered in San Diego, Premier has offices in Charlotte, N.C. and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.premierinc.com.

About the Premier Cares Award
Premier has presented the Cares Award annually since 1992, when it was created by Monroe E. Trout, M.D., former CEO of American Healthcare Systems, one of Premier’s heritage organizations. The Cares Award winner receives a grant of $70,000, while five runners-up receive smaller awards. The competition is open to not-for-profit organizations that have been in existence for more than two years, are providing creative solutions to health status improvement, can provide documentation of outcomes and impact on a specific population, and have programs that can be replicated in other communities.