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Release Date: 12/01/2015

Erika F. Werner, MD, MS, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist with Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, has received funding for her research, “Assessing and avoiding barriers to postpartum glucose testing among women with gestational diabetes mellitus,” by the American Diabetes Association’s Research Program. Reviewed by the Association’s Research Grant Review Committee, funding for the proposal will start January 1, 2016.

Some women develop high blood sugar levels in pregnancy, a diagnosis known as gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Twenty-five to 60 percent of these women will have elevated blood sugars even when not pregnant, a condition known as pre-diabetes. Women with pre-diabetes are at high risk to develop diabetes mellitus (DM) unless they change their lifestyle and/or take medication.

“Testing women with GDM for pre-diabetes during the postpartum period is the first step toward preventing DM. Unfortunately, most women with GDM never get tested for pre-diabetes and instead go on to develop DM in the years after delivery,” said Dr. Werner. “Our proposal will determine how we can change postpartum care to better identify women with pre-diabetes and then intervene to reduce their DM-risk.”

Six hundred women will receive care in the trial. Three hundred will receive pre-screening and postpartum screening within two days of delivery as opposed to the other 300 who will receive routine care with screening at six to 12 weeks postpartum. The outcomes collected from this project will re-purpose postpartum care for women with GDM to better prevent DM.

A graduate of the University of Virginia with a bachelor’s degree and also a master’s degree in environmental engineering, Dr. Werner earned her medical degree at the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University. She returned to the University of Virginia for her residency in obstetrics and gynecology and completed a fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine.

Board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and in maternal-fetal medicine, Dr. Werner’s research and clinical interests include obstetrical complications of obesity, gestational diabetes, operative deliveries and preterm birth. She has also published materials extensively on cost effective medical practices.

About the American Diabetes Association
The American Diabetes Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives a voice to those denied rights because of diabetes.

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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 9th 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 first 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 Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiography; a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology; 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.
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