Senator John J. Flanagan (2nd Senate District) recently joined the doctors and nurses of Stony Brook University Hospital (SBUH) to celebrate the designation of its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) by the March of Dimes as a Family Support project site. With the support of a $35,000 grant secured by Senator Flanagan, the NICU Family Support project aims to alleviate the emotional stress of families whose babies are born prematurely or whose newborns are seriously ill.
"Being the parent of a premature infant can be stressful and overwhelming. Having this newly created family system right here in Stony Brook should be a comfort for those families who will benefit greatly from their services," stated Senator Flanagan. "I am pleased to provide funding for this valuable service, and to be a part of this effort in keeping our families strong and our children healthy."
The March of Dimes NICU Family Support program provides information, counseling and comfort to families of premature and critically ill infants in NICUs all over the country. The program at Stony Brook is one of only 28 sites in the country and only the 2nd in New York State.
The partnership between March of Dimes and the SBUH Regional Perinatal Center aims to address the needs of families of critically ill newborns throughout the hospitalization, during the transition home or in the event of a death.
According to the March of Dimes, the number of babies born prematurely has increased dramatically over the last three decades, up nearly 31%. Roughly one of eight children born in this country will wind up in a NICU because they are born too soon or too small. During an average week in Suffolk County, 385 babies are born, and 70 will be preterm or low birth weight, a significant number of whom will suffer lifelong health problems as a result.
Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing defects, premature birth and infant mortality. SBUH is one of the leading hospitals in the country with cutting edge diagnostic and treatment facilities, and is the regional referral center for trauma, perinatal and neonatal intensive care, bone marrow and kidney transplantation, and home to the Cody Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities.