NICHD Scientific Lead on Surgeon General's Conference on Preventing Preterm Birth

Experts will convene to develop national agenda and action plan to prevent preterm birth

A preterm baby on a breathing tubePreterm birth remains one of the most complicated and difficult research and public health issues in obstetrics and pediatrics. Nearly 12 percent of all babies born in the United States are born preterm, and this rate continues to rise. To underscore the importance of this problem, the U.S. Congress passed the Prematurity Research Expansion and Education for Mothers who Deliver Infants Early (PREEMIE) Act (P.L. 109-450), which was signed by the President in December 2006.

In addition to encouraging more research on this topic and working to establish an evidence-based standard of care for pregnant women at risk of preterm labor, the PREEMIE Act also mandates a Surgeon General’s conference to address the growing problem of preterm birth. In 2007, the Office of the Surgeon General named the NICHD as its scientific lead for this Conference on the Prevention of Preterm Birth.

The purpose of this conference is to:

  • Increase awareness of preterm birth in the United States;
  • Review key findings and reports (including the Institute of Medicine Report Preterm Birth: Causes, Consequences and Prevention) issued by experts in the field; and
  • Establish an agenda for activities in both the public and private sectors to mitigate this public health problem.

The two-day conference will be held on June 16-17, 2008, at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Convention Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The Office of the Surgeon General and the NICHD have invited experts from the nation’s scientific, medical, public health, public policy, and community sectors to collaborate on developing a national agenda and action plan aimed at preventing preterm birth.

  • At the first day of the conference, June 16, 2008, invitees in workgroups will collaborate to develop a draft national agenda and action plan.
  • The second day of the conference is open to interested members of the public and will focus on gathering input and suggestions on the draft agenda and plan. (Please note that space is limited and participation will be on a first-come, first-served basis.)

The conference will end with a formal presentation of the final national agenda and action plan to Rear Admiral Steven K. Galston, M.D., M.P.H., Acting Surgeon General of the United States.

To learn more about the conference or about preterm birth, or to register for the open session of the conference on June 17, 2008, visit the links below:


Originally Posted: April 9, 2008

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