PHILADELPHIA - Penn Medicine’s Pennsylvania Hospital (PAH) and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) have received a three-year, $1.35 million grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Health to design an innovative and replicable program for promoting and evaluating safe sleep practices for newborns. The Philadelphia Safe Sleep Awareness for Every Well Newborn (S.A.F.E.) Program will be rolled out to hospitals, ambulatory care settings, communities, and homes and addresses the population-specific problem through nurse, parent and community education, development and dissemination of practice and education resources, and a community partnership with the Maternity Care Coalition (MCC).

“In Philadelphia, 45 healthy babies die unexpectedly every year – a rate that is significantly higher than in other major cities. Research shows these tragic deaths can be prevented by following safe sleep guidelines,” said Marilyn Stringer, PhD, WHCNP, FAAN, a professor of Women's Health Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and the principal investigator for the program. “By promoting safe sleep, and educating health care providers, parents and community members on Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) risk reduction strategies, we can help keep babies safe.”

“As a physician and public health leader, I am excited about using research-based strategies to more successfully educate and model safe sleep practices. I look forward to the implementation and expansion of the S.A.F.E. Program to achieve measurable results in reducing SUID,” said Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Deputy Secretary for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Loren Robinson, MD, MSHP, FAAP.

The specific aims for the S.A.F.E. Program are to:

  • Develop a Safe Sleep Model Program for the hospital environment
  • Recruit ten additional hospitals with mother/baby units to participate in the Philadelphia S.A.F.E. Program
  • Facilitate and support the implementation of a comprehensive Safe Sleep Model Program at the identified hospitals.
  • Increase population awareness of safe sleep practices, address emerging uses of products or behaviors that do not conform to safe sleep practices, and target diverse ethnic populations.

Development of the S.A.F.E. program comes on the heels of HUP’s own program developed last year when nurses in the Intensive Care Nursery realized there was no local program aimed at improving best practices and education. That program was developed using practice guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which advises that infants sleep alone, on their back, and on a firm, flat surface with nothing else in the crib.

Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $7.8 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report’s survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation’s top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $405 million awarded in the 2017 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center — which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report — Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital – the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, a leading provider of highly skilled and compassionate behavioral healthcare.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2017, Penn Medicine provided $500 million to benefit our community.

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