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President Smith lends his voice to prematurity prevention campaign

SYRACUSE, N.Y. —SUNY Upstate Medical University President David R. Smith, M.D., is lending his voice to a national campaign aimed at preventing premature births.

The campaign, an initiative between the March of Dimes and the Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute, encourages women to help in the prevention of preterm births by quitting smoking, having appropriate prenatal weight gain and by receiving high quality prenatal care.

Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death and a major cause of disabilities.

Smith, who is participating in a media awareness tour for the campaign, said the focus of the campaign is to prevent preterm birth and lower the preterm birth rate for singleton births by 15 percent. Smith, a pediatrician, is a member of the Executive Committee of the National Board of Trustees for the March of Dimes.

Known as a silent crisis by experts preterm birth rates have soared 30 percent since 1981, with more than 508,000 babies being born prematurely.