Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation and March of Dimes Continue Efforts to Prevent Premature Births

$30,870 will help support smoking cessation programs

AUGUSTA, Maine–(BUSINESS WIRE)–March of Dimes has announced a $30,870 grant from Anthem Blue
Cross and Blue Shield Foundation to help prevent premature birth and
improve the health of moms and babies.

Prematurity is the #1 killer of babies in the U.S., and babies born even
a few weeks early have higher rates of illness and hospitalization
compared to full-term newborns. In addition to the toll on families,
economic costs for prematurity are estimated at more than $26 billion
annually by the National Academy of Medicine.

The Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation grant will enable the
March of Dimes to make smoking cessation available to additional women
in Maine by supporting programs throughout the state. The grant will
provide smoking cessation services to pregnant women because research
has shown that babies born to women who smoke during pregnancy are more
likely than babies born to nonsmokers to have birth defects, have a low
birthweight or be born too soon.

“This grant allows the March of Dimes to provide much-needed support and
services for thousands of moms, to help them have healthy, full-term
pregnancies and healthy babies,” said Paul E. Jarris, MD, MBA, senior
vice president and chief medical officer of the March of Dimes. “The
March of Dimes applauds Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation for
its dedication to better health for American families and their
continued support of our mission to help give every baby a fighting

The $30,870 grant to the March of Dimes is part of Anthem Blue Cross and
Blue Shield Foundation’s ongoing commitment to addressing health
disparities and improving public health in Maine. Through its Healthy
Generations program, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation is
working to address some of the nation’s most complex health issues,
among them, reducing the incidence of low birthweight babies and
engaging mothers in prenatal care.

The new grant continues a longstanding relationship between Anthem Blue
Cross and Blue Shield Foundation and March of Dimes to improve maternal
and infant health. Most recently, in 2015-2016, a $1 million from Anthem
Foundation, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation’s parent
foundation, helped the March of Dimes provide prevention services to
6,600 women, including those reached by smoking cessation programs in
three states.

“Smoking cessation is one way to help ensure the health of moms and
babies, and while we have made significant progress in this area, it’s
critical we continue to strengthen programs and further our reach to
different areas of the community,” said Dr. Jeffrey Holmstrom, senior
clinical officer for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine. “We’re
proud to team with the March of Dimes in its efforts to drive
cutting-edge research, treatment and outreach to give every baby a
healthy start in life.”

The March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign, launched in 2003, seeks to
raise awareness of the problem and to lower the rate of premature birth
to 8.1 percent of births by 2020 and to 5.5 percent by 2030.

About the March of Dimes

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy
and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited
from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs.
For the latest resources and health information, visit our websites and To participate in our annual
signature fundraising event, visit If
you have been affected by prematurity or birth defects, visit our community
to find comfort and support. You can also find us on Facebook or
follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue
Shield Association, promotes Anthem’s inherent commitment to enhance the
health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield serves. The Foundation focuses its
funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative
solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy
Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets
specific disease states and medical conditions. These include: prenatal
care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity
rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical
activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal
and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also
coordinates the company’s year-round Associate Giving program and its
parent foundation provides a 50 percent match of associates’ pledges.
®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of
the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.


Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine
Colin Manning
of Dimes
Ruby Wint