GLENVIEW, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mead Johnson Nutrition (NYSE: MJN), a leading provider of pediatric nutrition products worldwide, and Hand to Hold, a national nonprofit neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) parent support organization, are pleased to announce the opening of the third annual NICU Heroes Awards. Parents and caregivers are invited to nominate NICU health care professionals that have demonstrated exceptional commitment and dedication while caring for babies and their families.
According to a recent study, 14.4 percent of babies born in the U.S. are referred to the NICU for advanced carei. That’s more than a half a million births in the U.S. each yearii. By far the most common reason for a NICU referral is prematurity, defined as a birth before 37 weeks’ gestation. Prematurity is the leading cause of newborn death and re-hospitalization and can result in lifelong disabilitiesiii.
Families of preemies and babies born with special health needs are often overwhelmed by their need for information and support, and NICU professionals make a huge difference in the lives of these families. Community-based programs, such as Hand to Hold, provide support to families before, during and after NICU stays.
“The NICU Heroes Awards give families a chance to honor the professionals that have positively impacted their lives,” said Ivonne Monteagudo, senior vice president and general manager, North America and Global Marketing, Mead Johnson Nutrition. “As the only global company solely focused on infant nutrition, Mead Johnson understands that newborns deserve the best start in life. We welcome this opportunity to recognize the dedicated healthcare professionals striving to provide the best outcomes possible for these babies and their families.”
The 2015 NICU Heroes Awards will honor two NICU health care professionals whose compassionate care and dedication helped lessen the emotional toll of a NICU stay.
During the nomination period – April 1 - 30, 2015 – parents and guardians can share stories highlighting the exemplary care families and their children received from NICU staffs throughout the United States.
Five nominees will be named as finalists. Two finalists will be chosen as winners by an independent panel of NICU health care professionals and parents from around the country. During the NICU Heroes Awards ceremony at their hospital, winners will receive:
- a trophy and certificate, presented at the winner’s hospital;
- a $2,500 donation in their name to the pediatric healthcare charity of their choice*; and
- a one-year subscription to the Hand to Hold Resource Library, designed to provide education to parents during a NICU stay, for the winner’s hospital.
Each nominee will receive a certificate of appreciation and a copy of their nominating essay. As a mother of two preemies, Kelli Kelley, founder of Hand to Hold, understands the key role a great health care team can play during a NICU journey. “NICU families often struggle with the words to appropriately thank neonatal professionals for the difference they made in the lives of their children,” she explained. “Whether it’s extra time working through medical decisions or a shoulder to cry on, NICU Heroes reach beyond their job descriptions to help parents navigate this journey. The nominees and winners do everything they can to meet the needs of their tiny patients and their families.”
Last year, parents and caregivers nominated neonatal healthcare professionals from more than 30 states. Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Stephanie Horecky Hall of Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, and Neonatologist Stewart Lawrence, MD, of Mountain States Neonatology, an affiliate of Pediatrix Medical Group and who practices at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, Idaho, were honored as 2014 NICU Heroes.
Parents and guardians of children admitted to any NICU can submit nominations online at www.handtohold.org/hero from April 1 through April 30, 2015 at 5 p.m. CDT. Finalists will be announced July 13, and winners will be announced August 3. Children may have been admitted to the NICU for any reason, do not have to be a current NICU patient, and may be any age.
* Some limitations may apply.
About Mead Johnson Nutrition
Mead Johnson, a global leader in pediatric nutrition, develops, manufactures, markets and distributes more than 70 products in over 50 markets worldwide. The company's mission is to nourish the world’s children for the best start in life. The Mead Johnson name has been associated with science-based pediatric nutrition products for over 100 years. The company’s Enfa™ family of brands is the world's leading brand franchise in pediatric nutrition. For more information, go to www.meadjohnson.com.
About Hand to Hold
Hand to Hold is a community-based, national support program for parents of preemies, babies born with a special health care need and those who have experienced loss due to these or other complications. The nonprofit organization’s vision is to enable a network of families to offer support, comfort and understanding to one another, and to provide them with knowledge, information and resources to ensure the best outcome for their children and family. For more information, go to www.handtohold.org.
i March of Dimes and National Perinatal Information Center/Quality Analytic Services. Special Care Nursery Admissions. Accessed from https://www.marchofdimes.org/peristats/pdfdocs/nicu_summary_final.pdf
ii Centers for Disease Control. National Center for Health Statistics. In 2012, 3,952,841 babies were born. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/births.htm
iii March of Dimes. Prematurity Snapshot. http://www.marchofdimes.org/mission/prematurity-campaign.aspx Accessed January 20, 2015.