How YOU are Helping Moms and Babies

March 23, 2018
Topics: Riley Staff Profiles

baby image

Indiana is losing too many babies, and together we can do something about it.

More than 600 infants die each year in Indiana before their first birthday. That’s 600 babies too many.

Riley Children’s Foundation is leading the fundraising efforts to dramatically change the way care is delivered to mothers and babies. Our ultimate goal is to give more babies the chance to grow up. With your help, we’re already making a difference.

We asked the program leaders of Riley Maternity and Newborn Health to help explain how your generosity is transforming the lives of Indiana’s mothers and babies.

Q: What is Riley Maternity and Newborn Health, and why are donations supporting this program necessary?
A: In 2014, Riley announced plans to create the Riley Maternity and Newborn Health service line to fight the infant mortality epidemic in a coordinated fashion, and to link maternity services with pediatric services for a complete continuum of care. The mission is to provide access to state of the art care for any mother and her baby in Indiana.  

Q: What are Indiana’s current infant mortality statistics?
A: Infant mortality is defined as the death of a baby before his/her first birthday. The infant mortality rate is an estimate of the number of infant deaths for every 1,000 live births. In 2016, Indiana’s infant mortality rate was 7.5, an increase from 2015. Indiana ranks 43 out of 50 states for highest infant mortality.

Q: What are the main causes of infant deaths in our state?
A: The main causes of infant deaths in Indiana are birth defects, preterm birth and low birth weight, maternal complications of pregnancy, sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) and injuries.  Approximately 15% of infant deaths are considered SUIDs; sleep environment and positioning play a large preventable role in the number of SUIDs deaths each year.

Q: What is a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist, and why is there such a need for more of them in Indiana?
A Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialist is an ObGyn physician who has completed an additional two to three years of education and training in medical, surgical, obstetrical, fetal and genetic complications of pregnancy. MFM specialists are high-risk pregnancy experts. Currently, there are eight practicing Riley MFM physicians. Two more are starting this fall which will bring our count to 10: Christina Scifres, M.D., and Methodius (Method) Tuuli, M.D., MPH, FACOG. Riley plans to continue to recruit until we have 12 practicing MFM physicians. In the most recent MFM workforce study, there are only 1.5 MFMs per 10,000 deliveries in Indiana. This placed Indiana as 45th in the United States where the average was 3.2 per 10,000 in the same study.

Q: Can you estimate how many mothers and babies are being served each year by Riley Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists?
A: Each year, Riley Maternal-Fetal Medicine serves over 2,000 new patients by either consulting, co-managing or managing their care. In 2016, a Riley clinic was opened in Bloomington, Ind., which dramatically increased Maternal-Fetal Medicine access for the southern part of the state.

Q: What is the Fetal Center at Riley Children’s Health, and how many patients are being served annually by this program?
A: The Fetal Center at Riley Children’s Health is where Maternal-Fetal Medicine physicians, neonatologists and pediatric subspecialists come together in one central location to provide coordinated care for expectant mothers carrying a fetus with a suspected birth defect. This team works collaboratively with the patient to provide the latest treatments and advanced care to support their high-risk patients during this critical time. In 2016, a total of 161 patients were served by the Fetal Center.

Q: Can you update us on plans to offer labor and delivery care at Riley Hospital?
A: In December 2016, the IU Health Board approved funding to move maternity and newborn services from Methodist to Riley, allowing for strategic integration of maternity and neonatal services.  Riley will support comprehensive maternity services from the lowest to highest risk, and operate one of only two Level IV obstetrics units in the state of Indiana.

Q: Can you explain the Quality Innovation Network, and give a few examples of infant mortality prevention strategies being tested?
A: The Quality Innovation Network (QIN) provides infrastructure and support via three cores (data, patient engagement and implementation) for innovation of programs to decrease infant mortality and morbidity. The QIN serves as an engine to build, test and implement new programs that enhance a statewide system of best practices to ensure access and quality. The Best Baby Zone is a current initiative in which neighborhoods are identified, community leaders and partners are brought together, a shared vision is created and cross-sector community actions are fostered. The Best Baby Zone is one approach to transforming the social determinants that underlie poor reproductive and early childhood outcomes.

Q: What are your greatest hopes for what can be accomplished if the public fully supports Riley Maternity and Newborn Health?
A: The greatest hope is to lead the charge to decrease infant mortality in Indiana. This program is an important step forward in how we will care for high-risk Hoosier moms and their families in the future.  

Q: What’s your message to Riley Children’s Foundation donors who are stepping up with their support? What is the impact of their gifts?
A: Donors’ gifts allow Riley Maternity & Newborn Health to become the leader in state of the art care for Indiana’s pregnant moms and their babies. With our donors’ help, we are able to provide care beyond our walls and into the communities we serve.

Riley Blogger

The Riley Blog is written and/or edited by members of the Riley Children's Foundation Communications Staff.

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