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New research center to focus on causes of preterm birth

A premature baby sleeps in an incubator.

Three major Ohio universities and four hospitals have joined in a new research collaborative aimed at finding the unknown causes of premature birth.  The March of Dimes says the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center are among the partners in the program. 

Dr. Joe Leigh Simpson, Senior Vice President of Research and Global Programs for the March of Dimes, said a great deal of work has been done trying to decrease the frequency of preterm birth and there have been some successes.

"Unfortunately, the frequency of preterm birth, in Ohio, nationwide, and around the world, remains unacceptably high; and it's a huge healthcare burden to us," he said,

Simpson is looking for the collaborative to provide a fresh light on the problem.

"In Ohio, we believe the talent at the three universities is such that we can make a real difference in terms of finding out the actual explanations for preterm birth," he said.

The other partners in the Ohio program are:

  • The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus
  • Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals MacDonald Women's Hospital and Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and MetroHealth System, Cleveland.

The March of Dimes says it intends to invest $10 million  in the Prematurity Research Center over five years.  The GE Foundation awarded the Ohio Collaborative its first grant for $200,000.