[caption id="attachment_16666" align="alignleft" width="300"] David Paul Guest Columnist[/caption]
A healthy Delaware begins with healthy babies - and healthy babies start with healthy women. By partnering with women in our community to achieve optimal health before conception and by providing expert prenatal, maternity and newborn care, we help everyone in our community.
Care that is centered on patients and families is at the heart of our planning for the transformation in women and children's health now beginning at Christiana Care and culminating in 2020 with a new Women and Children's building dedicated to giving babies the best start in life and providing expert care for women across their lifespan.
In planning for our $260 million transformation project at our Christiana Hospital campus in Stanton, we are working closely with our Women and Children's Patient and Family Advisory Council - our volunteer partners in providing a patient's view of projects and services in women's health and pediatrics.
With their ideas and counsel, and the expertise of our nurses, physicians and administrative staff who are implementing best practices from across the nation, we will further improve health for mothers and babies and continue to provide an exceptional birth experience for families in Delaware and the region.
Delaware is already a great place to have a baby. Here are just a few reasons why:
Access to care: Among women of reproductive age in Delaware, 92.2 percent live within a 30-minute drive and 98 percent live within a 60-minute drive of a maternity center, which is above the national average, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. There are 5.0 OB/GYNs per 10,000 women ages 15-45 in Delaware, very close to the national average of 5.24.
Care innovation: Delaware's Health Care Innovation Plan, supported by a $35 million federal grant, aims in part to address social determinants of health - which include access to healthy foods and opportunities to play and exercise in safe areas - to support maternal, infant and child health and well-being. Addressing social determinants of health can help ensure that women are the healthiest they can be when they become pregnant, which has a positive ripple effect on their baby's health. It also lowers health care costs by decreasing the needs for interventions due to poor maternal health.
Expert care: Christiana Care's doctors, nurses and nurse midwives are among the most experienced in the region - providing obstetrical care to 85 percent of new mothers in the area. We are a National Community Center of Excellence in Women's Health and national leaders in research and education in neonatology and obstetrics.
Our investment in Delaware's future through our transformation of women and children's services reflects our commitment to our community.
As one of the busiest maternity centers on the East Coast, we deliver more than 6,400 babies each year - an average of 17 births a day. High volume translates into high reliability and good outcomes.
A nationally renowned maternity center, planned in partnership with the families it serves, is attractive for parents-to-be who call Delaware their home and their workplace. Our strategic, targeted improvements will bring value to our patients with an exceptional experience that is safe and inviting.
We look forward to welcoming the future of Delaware.
David A. Paul, M.D., is chair of pediatrics and clinical leader of the Women and Children's Service Line at Christiana Care Health System, and governor-appointed chair of the Delaware Healthy Mother and Infant Consortium.