The Emory University School of Medicine's Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine recently received the 2004 Leadership Award for Maternal and Infant Health from the Atlanta-based Center for Black Women's Wellness, Inc. The award recognized the division as a champion for maternal and infant health in Georgia and for its commitment to the care of newborn infants with life-threatening conditions, as well as premature babies with special needs. Emory's Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine is among the largest in the southeastern United States dedicated to improving outcomes for sick and tiny babies.
"The award was truly an honor because the organization felt we've done a lot to improve the outcome of pregnancy for at-risk mothers," says Augusto Sola, MD, professor of pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology and director of the Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. "We take care of lots of sick babies, so it's nice to be recognized for the work we do. It's also humbling because it shows how much our staff does and how we're trying to join forces with people in the community. It's a stimulus to keep improving outcomes."
Dr. Sola says Georgia has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country, ranking third from the bottom among all other states. For unknown reasons, the rate of premature births and infant mortality is higher among black women.
Each year, the neonatologists within Emory's Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine care for 1,700 premature and sick babies with special needs in metro Atlanta. These board-certified physicians direct intensive care and intermediate care units that are part of the Emory Regional Perinatal Center, which includes Grady Memorial Hospital, Emory Crawford Long Hospital and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. The Center also coordinates emergency neonatal transports through the Angel II Transport Team for the northern Georgia region. Angel II transports 850 babies each year.
The Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine provides 24-hour neonatal intensive care and neonatal consultation, prompt follow-up communication to the referring physician, and follow-up of infants at risk for developmental delays and neurological problems.
Dr. Sola notes that many Emory neonatologists are now actively involved with research. The division boasts several grants targeted at groundbreaking care of infants with special needs.