NICHD renews maternal-fetal medicine, neonatal ties with Women & Infants

July 08, 2011

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) recently announced it would renew the membership of Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode in its Maternal Fetal Medicine Units (MFMU) Network and Neonatal Research Network (NRN).

Women & Infants remains one of just eight medical centers in the nation, and the only one in New England, that is part of both the MFMU and NRN networks.

"This is an incredible validation of the breadth and quality of research we are capable of here at Women & Infants," said Constance Howes, president and CEO of the hospital. "Our memberships have been renewed because we are able to enroll patients in the high-level trials being conducted by the two networks, and, therefore, are contributing to a better health care environment and improved outcomes for women and newborns."

The NICHD created the MFMU and NRN in 1986 to focus on clinical questions in maternal-fetal medicine and obstetrics, especially the problem of premature birth.

There are 14 university-based clinical centers and a data coordinating center in the MFMU Network, which has completed more than 30 randomized clinical trials to date. There are 18 university-based clinical centers and a data coordinating center in the NRN. Women & Infants and Brown University are the only New England sites for either network.

"The goal of the MFMU Network is to improve maternal and fetal outcomes by studying and better understanding the perinatal period," said Dwight Rouse, MD, MSPH, principal investigator of the Women & Infants MFMU site. "We want to reduce the rate of premature birth, fetal growth abnormalities and maternal complications during pregnancy.

"The Neonatal Research Network has been focused on testing therapies for sepsis, intraventricular hemorrhage, chronic lung disease and pulmonary hypertension, as well as the effect of drug exposure in utero on child and family outcomes," added Abbot R. Laptook, MD, principal investigator of the NRN at Women & Infants.
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About Women & Infants Hospital

Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, is one of the nation's leading specialty hospitals for women and newborns. A U.S.News Best Hospital in Gynecology and Best Children's Hospital in Neonatology, Women & Infants was ranked number one in the Providence metro area and a top hospital in Cancer and Gynecology. The primary teaching affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University for obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics, as well as a number of specialized programs in women's medicine, Women & Infants is the seventh largest obstetrical service in the country with more than 8,500 deliveries per year. In 2009, Women & Infants opened the country's largest, single-family room neonatal intensive care unit.

New England's premier hospital for women and newborns, Women & Infants and Brown offer fellowship programs in gynecologic oncology, obstetric medicine, maternal-fetal medicine, urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery, neonatal-perinatal medicine, pediatric and perinatal pathology, gynecologic pathology and cytopathology, and reproductive endocrinology and infertility. It is home to the nation's only mother-baby perinatal psychiatric partial hospital, as well as the nation's only fellowship program in obstetric medicine.

Women & Infants has been designated as a Breast Center of Excellence from the American College of Radiography; a Center for In Vitro Maturation Excellence by SAGE In Vitro Fertilization; a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence by the National Institutes of Health; and a Neonatal Resource Services Center of Excellence. It is one of the largest and most prestigious research facilities in high risk and normal obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics in the nation, and is a member of the National Cancer Institute's Gynecologic Oncology Group.

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