$10 million gift for women's care at Atrium Health – Charlotte Post

Better women’s care is coming to Atrium Health facilities in Charlotte and across North Carolina.

The hospital system received a $10 million gift from the C.D. Spangler Foundation to transform reproductive care in the region as part of the Giving Hope campaign by Anna Spangler Nelson and Thomas C. Nelson.

“This transformative gift from the C.D. Spangler Foundation will allow Atrium Health to support even more women – and their families – at every stage of the parenthood journey and help bring their children into the world with the resources and opportunities to thrive,” said Gene Woods, chief executive officer of Advocate Health, of which Atrium Health is a part. “We are deeply grateful for Anna and Tom Nelson’s inspiring commitment to train and support women’s health care providers, while helping to expand access to care for women and families across North Carolina.”

Thomas Nelson, chair of both boards of directors, and his wife Anna are dedicated to improving health access for women and girls. North Carolina has the 11th highest infant mortality rates in the country and reports some of the poorest outcomes for women.

The funding will help increase access to care, expand education and programs to reduce maternal and infant mortality, and provide children a healthy start to prepare for academic success. The investment will increase awareness of maternal care and education for women and teens by meeting them where they are, in a trusted setting.

Local health officials said at a press conference that they do not know how much funding will be given to Mecklenburg County. However, the money will be spread out across the state. The funding aims to help women living in underserved communities that may not have access to quality healthcare.

“I think this is one of the most exciting parts about this gift is because it is going to give us the ability to jumpstart some programs in our outlying counties outside of Mecklenburg County,” said Dr. Katie Borders, assistant specialty medical director for Atrium Health Women’s Care and medical director at Shelby OBGYN. “Things like CenteringPregnancy, CenteringParenting, [and] community doula services for our patients and so it’s actually really huge.”

With support from the C.D. Spangler Foundation, Atrium Health will enhance maternal care through programs like CenteringPregnancy, which engages a group of expectant mothers in prenatal care and CenteringParenting, which is family-centered and emphasizes well-child care.

The success of the two programs at Atrium Health has decreased rates of babies born prematurely and at a low birthweight, and has improved breastfeeding rates, spacing between pregnancies, and needed health visits and immunization rates.

Additional support from the foundation will promote community doula services and in-home care – a cost effective approach to reduce perinatal and postpartum outcomes. The mobile medical outreach program Drive to Thrive, can now better serve those who have little to no access to reproductive, maternal, and prenatal care.

To further advance the hospital as an academic health system, a portion of the generous gift will go toward training and recruitment. The funding will help to create training programs for women’s care and deliver team-based medical tools among health providers across the state.

“This is extremely impactful for clinical teams in rural areas like Cleveland County, where we don’t have access to simulation training resources onsite,” Borders said. “By taking this training on the road, Atrium Health will help providers promote safe birth practices, create consistency in contraception and reproductive education and directly target disparities to improve health outcomes for women and babies.”
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