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School and Program Updates

School and Program Updates

UNC: Awarded $14 Million to Make Childbirth Safer for Mothers and Infants

A team of clinical researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received $14 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to conduct two studies aimed at improving pregnancy outcomes in the world’s poorest countries. An interdisciplinary team at the UNC School of Medicine and the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health will lead the studies, both of which will explore the role of technology in predicting and addressing key risk factors associated with pregnancy, labor and delivery.

Each year, some 300,000 women and 3 million babies worldwide die during childbirth or shortly thereafter, according to the World Health Organization.

“In many parts of the world, the days surrounding childbirth are the riskiest period a mother and her newborn will ever face,” said Dr. Jeffrey Stringer, professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the School of Medicine and adjunct professor of epidemiology in the Gillings School. “These studies will develop resource-appropriate technologies to make that time much safer.”

The Limiting Adverse Birth Outcomes in Resource-Limited Settings (LABOR) study will focus on the period of pregnancy between the onset of labor through delivery. It will evaluate 15,000 women at high-volume clinical sites in three developing countries, including UNC-Chapel Hill’s flagship partnership in Zambia.

“The data produced by this study will allow us to create a new collection of precision medicine tools that can be used in developing countries to help medical providers better manage patients’ unique needs and result in healthier mothers and babies,” said Dr. Michael Kosorok, W.R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor and chair of biostatistics at the UNC Gillings School.

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