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Release Date: 12/24/2013

Families of babies being seen in Women & Infants Hospital’s Neonatal Follow-Up Clinicnow have an educational and developmentally appropriate space to promote self-healing through play, thanks to an innovative partnership with the March of Dimes and the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children.

Rhode Island’s first March of Dimes NICU Family Support® Bright Space® for Siblings was unveiled earlier this month to a crowd that included current and former neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) families, administrators, physicians, nurses and community representatives. This Bright Space for NICU Siblings is the first to open in a developmental follow-up clinic in the U.S. in partnership with the March of Dimes.

“Women & Infants Hospital is delighted to partner with the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children and continue our longstanding partnership with the March of Dimes,” said Mark Marcantano, acting president of Women & Infants Hospital. “As a patient and family centered hospital, we are excited to create an enriching learning and play facility for NICU graduates and the siblings and families of some of our most fragile newborn patients.”

Bright Spaces®, the signature program of the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children, creates warm, enriching playrooms in organizations that give children and families a special place to gather, relax and have fun. David Lissy, CEO of Bright Horizons Family Solutions, said, “We hope that this space will help maintain a sense of normalcy for siblings and families of babies in the neonatal intensive care unit.”

In addition to providing a gathering place for families, the Bright Space at Women & Infants will offer hope and inspiration. It will have vintage toys and art work, a library, interactive and developmentally appropriate toys, and an art cart.

“Bright Spaces bring hope and comfort to families and children during an especially difficult time – when a baby is in need of neonatal intensive care,” said Betsy Akin, director of the March of Dimes Rhode Island Chapter. “This Bright Space in the developmental follow-up clinic will offer a place where moms and dads can talk, NICU graduates and siblings can play, and where families can simply be together.”

The March of Dimes chose Women & Infants Hospital as one of the eight Bright Spaces for NICU Siblings sites in the US because of their longstanding relationship. March of Dimes NICU Family Support was established at Women & Infants in 2002. It is built on a family-centered philosophy and addresses the needs of parents, siblings and extended family throughout the baby’s hospitalization, during the transition home, and in the event of a newborn death.

About Women & Infants Hospital

Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, is one of the nation’s leading specialty hospitals for women and newborns. A major teaching affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University for obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics, as well as a number of specialized programs in women’s medicine, Women & Infants is the 12th largest stand-alone obstetrical service in the country and the largest in New England with approximately 8,500 deliveries per year. A Designated Baby-Friendly® USA hospital, U.S.News & World Report 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospital in Neonatology and a 2014 Leapfrog Top Hospital, in 2009 Women & Infants opened what was at the time the country’s largest, single-family room neonatal intensive care unit.

Women & Infants and Brown offer fellowship programs in gynecologic oncology, maternal-fetal medicine, urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery, neonatal-perinatal medicine, pediatric and perinatal pathology, gynecologic pathology and cytopathology, and reproductive endocrinology and infertility. It is home to the nation’s only mother-baby perinatal psychiatric partial hospital, as well as the nation’s only fellowship program in obstetric medicine.

Women & Infants has been designated as a Breast Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiography; a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology; a Center for In Vitro Maturation Excellence by SAGE In Vitro Fertilization; a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence by the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and a Neonatal Resource Services Center of Excellence. It is one of the largest and most prestigious research facilities in high risk and normal obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics in the nation, and is a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Gynecologic Oncology Group and the Pelvic Floor Disorders Network.