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    Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait Launch in Newark, New Jersey

    New Jersey launches Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait

    Newark, New Jersey, February 16, 2012 —

    "Ealry entry into prenatal care is critical, and I support March of Dimes and their program in Newark," said Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno at the launch of Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait® (HBWW) in Newark, NJ on Februaty 16, 2012.  "Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait® will offer more New Jersey moms, especially African-American moms who are at greater risk, the best information and services geared especially for them," added LaVerne Council, March of Dimes National Board of Trustees Chair.

    Kudos to New Jersey State Director, Addy Bonet and state Program staff Laurie Navin and Sara Lewis who worked with their Advisory Board to successfully launch this community-based initiative focused on reducing preterm birth rates in Newark with a particular emphasis on reducing preterm birth amount African-Americans.

    "Newark is leading the state of New Jersey by making this commitment to reducing preterm birth and particularly to the African-American community.  The President of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials has challenged every state to commit to reducing preterm bith by 8% by 2014, and we urge New Jersey to accept this challenge," said Diane Ashton, MD, MPH.

    City and state HBWW partners expressed their commitment to the Newark program in remarks at the launch and a luncheon following.  Presenters included: LaVerne Council, Chair, March of Dimes National Board of Trustees; New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno; NJ Commissioner of Health, Mary O'Dowd; Sharon D'Agostino, Vice President of Corporate Contributions for Johnson & Johnson; HBWW-Newark hospital partners, Newark Beth Israel and University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey; Newark Community Health Centers; Dr. Diane Ashton, Deputy Medical Director; and Supporting Our Sisters, Executive Director, Towanda McEachern.  Partners highlighted the impact of prematurity on families and the community from professional and personal perspectives.

     In Newark, with the support of Johnson & Johnson, HBWW will focus on adapting the HBWW model to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in preterm birth.  "Johnson & Johnson is committed to improving the health of mothers and babies worldwide.  Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait has proven that community-based programs can reduce preterm birth rates.  We are excited to be a partner in this project which focuses on a particularly vulnerable group of mothers and babies right here in New Jersey," said Joy Marini, Director, Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson.

    News coverage of the Launch began the afternoon of the events.  The news release was picked up nationally; the Newark Star Ledger published an article: http://bit.ly/wnErw and Patch sent a reporter and published an article: http://newarknj.patch.com/articles/making-sure-baby-arrives-at-the-right-time .

    Congratulations to the New Jersey Chapter for a strong and successful media launch!

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