EMPOWR: Efforts To Maximize Perinatal Outcomes In Women At Risk

Ashford and O'Brien Receive Grant to Study Perinatal Outcomes in Women at Risk for Preterm Birth


Kristin Ashford, women's health nurse practitioner and assistant professor at the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, recently received a four-year Start for Mothers and Newborns grant from the Center for Medicare Medicaid Innovation, titled "EMPOWR: Efforts to Maximize Perinatal Outcomes in Women at Risk."

“I am excited to be working with extraordinary colleagues in the College of Nursing," said Dr. John O'Brien, associate professor and fellowship director in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the UK College of Medicine. We will be able to bring high-risk pregnancies in Central and Eastern Kentucky a new model for health care delivery aimed to reduce preterm birth rates and cost.”

Kristin Ashford and Dr. John O'Brien

With this award, Ashford and her colleagues will use an innovative group prenatal care approach (centering) that empowers women to take an active role in their prenatal care while offering peer support. The model is designed to improve perinatal outcomes and reduce the incidence of preterm birth in disproportionally affected regions across the state.

EMPOWR addresses high-risk perinatal issues such as tobacco use and substance abuse, diabetes, obesity, stress and other obstetrical risk factors. A core prematurity prevention visit at 20-24 weeks gestation focusing on obstetrical history and cervical length assessment is also an integral component of this program.

“We are truly fortunate for this opportunity to collaborate with the UK Department of OB/GYN, as we work throughout Kentucky to implement this program aimed to help women reduce their risk for preterm birth," Ashford said.

The project described was supported by Funding Opportunity Number CMS-1D1-12-001 from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation. The contents of such Public Project Communications are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of HHS or any of its agencies.”