The United States ranks 29th among industrialized nations in infant mortality rates. Low birth weight (LBW) infants are at much higher risk for developmental disabilities, sensorineural problems, visual and hearing problems and death compared with normal birth weight infants. Despite decreases in LBW and infant mortality rates, racial disparities continue to be marked and relatively unchanged.
COR's research in this area is in the beginning stages, but is expected to rapidly expand with the completion of the Maternal and Fetal Pavilion at The Children's Hospital. This program will bring together researchers in the fields of Ob/Gyn, fetal and neonatal medicine, and community translational researchers. The ability to follow mothers and babies through gestation, delivery, the neonatal period and then out into the community setting will provide unique opportunities to examine origins of childhood diseases and the effectiveness of interventions to treat childhood diseases. Dr. Kempe is currently a member of the Early Working Group examining potential collaborative research in this area.