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Hackensack University Medical Center Excels In “On-Time” Deliveries

Dr. Manuel Alvarez, Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology Receives Top Leadership Award from March of Dimes

White Plains, New York, Tuesday, December 20, 2011

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Dr. Manny Alvarez, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology, Donna A Sanzari Women’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, NJ received the first-ever March of Dimes President’s Award for Prematurity Prevention Leadership for reducing early elective C-sections.

Beginning in 2009, the hospital implemented policies that have reduced medically unnecessary early term deliveries from nearly 43 percent to 5 percent in November of 2011.

“Because of Dr. Alvarez’s leadership more babies are going full-term, which prevents preterm birth. Dr. Alvarez is a true champion for babies,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes.

Every week of pregnancy is crucial to a newborn’s health. Recent research has shown that a baby’s brain nearly doubles in weight in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Also, important lung and other organ development occur at this time. And the overall risk of death, though modest, is double for infants born at 37 weeks of pregnancy, when compared to babies born at 40 weeks, for all races and ethnicities.

“I am extremely proud of Dr. Alvarez and his work to implement policies at HackensackUMC to reduce the number of early elective C-Sections,” said Robert C. Garrett, president and chief executive officer of HackensackUMC. “Because of Dr. Alvarez and his dedication to this cause, more and more babies are being born full-term, giving them a much healthier start in life.” The March of Dimes has been working with hospitals and health policy experts to implement a quality improvement toolkit called, “Elimination of Non-medically Indicated (Elective) Deliveries Before 39 Weeks Gestational Age.” This toolkit can help hospitals reduce the number of medically unnecessary C-sections and inductions scheduled before 39 weeks of pregnancy.

The March of Dimes advises that if a pregnancy is healthy, and there are no complications that require an early delivery, women should wait until labor begins on its own or until at least 39 weeks of pregnancy.

“As a hospital, we decided we needed to do what we could to discourage as many elective deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy as possible,” said Dr. Manny Alvarez, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at HackensackUMC. “It hasn’t been an easy process, changing the mind-set of parents. But, through education, expectant parents are becoming more aware of the dangers of early deliveries and making better choices for their families.”

Photo caption: HACKENSACK, N.J., December 20, 2011 - Dr. Manuel Alvarez, chair of obstetrics and gynecology and Fox News Channel medical contributor, (right) was honored yesterday with the first-ever March of Dimes President’s Award for Prematurity Prevention Leadership presented to him by Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president for the March of Dimes. Under Dr. Alvarez’s leadership Hackensack University Medical Center has reduced medically unnecessary deliveries before 39 weeks from nearly 43 percent to 5 percent in less that two years. The hospital delivers more than 6000 babies annually. PHOTO CREDIT: Todd Dezen

About March of Dimes
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

For the latest resources and health information, visit our websites marchofdimes.org and nacersano.org. To participate in our annual signature fundraising event, visit marchforbabies.org. If you have been affected by prematurity or birth defects, visit our shareyourstory.org community to find comfort and support. For detailed national, state and local perinatal statistics, visit persistats.org. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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