Swedish Family Medicine awarded March of Dimes CenteringPregnancy grant

June 24, 2015
The March of Dimes named Swedish Family Medicine Cherry Hill as the recipient of its CenteringPregnancy® Initiative grant. The program, developed by the Centering Healthcare Institute, is a prenatal care model in which expectant mothers are provided medical care, interactive learning, and community building in a group setting by family medicine physicians.

“We are honored and excited to begin offering CenteringPregnancy,” said Paul Gianutsos, MD, MPH, program director.“With the help of this grant, we can bring a much-needed resource to families in this community. Our clinic serves women who often live stressful lives with minimal resources and few support systems. Group prenatal care will provide a supportive, nurturing community for these women during their pregnancy using a proven model.”

In addition to traditional one-on-one doctor-patient care, the CenteringPregnancy model uses an innovative group-based approach where eight to twelve mothers with similar due dates regularly meet throughout their pregnancy. These groups help women gain tools to assess their health in a supportive clinical setting. By shifting the dynamic, mothers are more empowered to make choices to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

Swedish Family Medicine Cherry Hill plans to implement CenteringPregnancy as the primary model of obstetric care in its family medicine residency clinic, serving a projected 80-100 women per year. The grant will be used for start-up training costs, consultant fees, materials, and supplies, and will seed the program for one year. In addition to helping new mothers, the clinic will work to spread advocacy of this method by training its resident physicians in group-based prenatal care. The five-year goal is to graduate 30 physicians who can advocate for the program in their future practices.

Since 1974, Swedish Family Medicine Cherry Hill has attracted some of the nation's brightest medical school graduates and prepared them for rigorous, innovative careers in evidence-based, patient-centered family medicine. Additionally, the residency aims to address health care disparities present among the underserved citizens of King county by specifically developing the knowledge and skills needed to provide excellent care for low-income, immigrant, homeless, and uninsured patients.

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. One in ten babies is born prematurely (birth before 37 weeks) in Washington state (9.7%).

CenteringPregnancy is an evidence based, cost effective, patient centered group prenatal care model. It improves pregnancy outcomes, increases satisfaction of the prenatal care experience by both mothers and providers, and lowers healthcare costs.

“The March of Dimes is deeply committed to making a difference in our community and our grants allow us to partner with local organizations to make a real impact on child and maternal health,” said Director of Program Services Gina Legaz with March of Dimes Washington Chapter. “We are thrilled to be able to award this grant to Swedish Family Medicine Cherry Hill for CenteringPregnancy.”

Funding CenteringPregnancy practice sites is part of The March of Dimes’ comprehensive Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait (HBWW) initiative to reduce preventable preterm birth. In Washington state, the initiative has reduced early elective deliveries from 15.3% in 2011 to 1.1% into 2014. The March of Dimes has focused on CenteringPregnancy in Washington state since 2011 as an important patient initiative to improve equity in birth outcomes. The March of Dimes has granted eight CenteringPregnancy grants in areas across the state including Vancouver, Yakima, Tacoma, Seattle and Everett.

In 2007, Swedish Midwifery & Women’s Health in Ballard was the first in Seattle to offer CenteringPregnancy and has since helped many new families get a happy, healthy start. Due to its success, Swedish Issaquah Midwifery also offers the program. For more information on all the programs Swedish offers for Women and Children, visit www.swedish.org/pregnancy.