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Baptist Health to host conference on preventing premature births

State experts on premature births will speak at a conference Wednesday, July 10, at the Baptist Heart Center Auditorium.

The free event – sponsored by Baptist Health Paducah, the March of Dimes and the Kentucky Perinatal Association – begins with registration at 8 a.m. Space is limited, so register by July 8 by phoning 270.575.2723 or e-mail The public is invited, but Continuing Medical Education credit hours are available for nurses.

The speakers will be:

  • Connie Gayle White, M.D., Deputy Commissioner for Clinical Affairs, Kentucky Department for Public Health
  • Ruth A. Shepherd, M.D., Maternal and Child Health Division director, Kentucky Department for Public Health
  • Heather F. Crouch, Pharm.D., Medical Science Liaison, GlaxoSmithKline
  • Edward O’Neill, M.D., neonatologist, Baptist Health Paducah

Baptist Health obstetrician/gynecologist Pamela Hodges, M.D., is immediate past president of the Kentucky Perinatal Association, which has focused attention on the growing problem with premature births. “The U.S. has a higher prematurity rate than some third-world countries,” she said. “Kentucky has one of the highest prematurity rates in the U.S., with eastern and western Kentucky being the highest in the state.”

Baptist Health is among 100 hospitals nationwide working with the March of Dimes’ “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait®” campaign, including the 39 weeks+ Quality Improvement Service Package to reduce medically-unnecessary (elective) inductions and Cesarean deliveries scheduled before 39 weeks of pregnancy.

Baptist Health has the only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the area and was named recently among America’s Best Hospitals for Obstetrics by WomenCertified®.