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Healthcare Professionals Gather at Southern California Perinatal Symposium to Learn from Leaders in the Fight Against Premature Birth

One in 10 babies will be born prematurely in California this year. Every week of pregnancy is crucial to a newborn’s health, and healthcare providers from dozens of hospitals across the state of California will gather this week to learn about preterm birth prevention from leaders in these efforts.

Reporters are invited to attend a special presentation and media roundtable with area medical experts who have led the way and set the standard of excellent care not only in Southern California, but across the country as well. Recommendations from embargoed Preterm Labor Assessment Toolkit will be released at this roundtable.

BACKGROUND: More than two-thirds of new or expectant moms do not know the correct definition of preterm birth, (less than 37 weeks gestation), and most have not discussed the risks and consequences of preterm birth with their healthcare provider, according to a survey by the March of Dimes and its partners. Preterm birth - birth before 37 weeks completed gestation - is a serious health problem that costs the United States more than $26 billion annually, according to the Institute of Medicine. Babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. At least 39 weeks of pregnancy are critical to a baby’s health because many important organs, including the brain, are not completely developed until then. Prematurity is the leading cause of newborn death, and babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of lifetime health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, and others.

WHAT:    Perinatal Symposium and Media Roundtable – as part of the 22nd Annual Perinatal Symposium
hosted by Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center’s Women’s and Children’s Services
WHERE:    Sheraton Fairplex Convention Center – 601 West McKinley Avenue – Pomona, CA 91768
WHEN:    Wednesday, April 18, 2012 ● 8 am-11am     Presentation: 8:15am     Media Roundtable: 10:15am


  • Victoria Lombardo, MSN, RN – Associate State Director of Program Services, March of Dimes
  • Gretchen Page, MPH, CNM – Loma Linda University Medical Center and Director Regional Perinatal Programs of California, Inland Empire
  • Manual Porto, MD – Director of the Center for Fetal Evaluation, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of California, Irvine
  • M. Hellen Rodriguez, MD – Medical Director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center

PRESENTATION: 8:15 am:     Dr. Manual Porto, Preterm Birth Prevention Update 2012

ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION TOPICS: (approx. time: 10:15 am) :

  •     Successes seen at hospitals who have implemented the Preterm Labor Assessment Toolkit
  •     How these Southern California hospitals have set the example for positive outcomes not only in CA, but across the country as well
  •     Why the recommendations in the Preterm Labor Assessment Toolkit are important to not only medical professionals and expectant moms, but to society as a whole.

The Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Perinatal Symposium is co-sponsored by March of Dimes and the following: Cole-Schaefer Ambulance, Genzyme, Grifols, and San Gabriel Valley Perinatal Medical Group.

About Pomona Valley Medical Center Hospital
Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center is a 453-bed, acute care, nationally accredited hospital serving the greater Pomona Valley. It is one of only 227 hospitals in the country to be named a recipient of the HealthGrades 2010/11 Outstanding Patient Experience Award. PVHMC has also been recognized nationally as a 2011 Thomson Reuters 50 Top Cardio Vascular Hospital (nationally). The Hospital has been a four-time recipient of Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals in the past 16 years. For more information please visit our web site at

About The March of Dimes
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. For the latest resources and information, visit or For free access to national, state, county and city-level maternal and infant health data, visit PeriStats, at


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Kathy Roche
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