jennejohns

 

Jenné Johns, MPH is a national and award-winning executive focused on eliminating health disparities in minority communities. As Director of Health Disparities at a national managed care organization, she leads innovations to reduce healthcare inequities for 5 million people in 19 states.

Johns earned a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Temple University, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nutrition from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

Although Jenné had a decade of experience working in the health field, this was not enough to prepare her for the life changing experience of nurturing her micro-preemie son out of the NICU. She wrote her first book, Once Upon a Preemie to motivate, encourage, and inspire parents whose children are born prematurely and land in the NICU. 

November is Prematurity Awareness Month, which is a worldwide and annual effort to raise awareness about premature babies and the concerns of their families. About 15 million babies are born prematurely each year, accounting for 1 in 10 babies born worldwide.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that 500,000 babies are born prematurely here in the U.S. every year which is one in every 9 babies born. Of all babies born early in this country, almost half are born to African-American and Hispanic women. These glaring racial and ethnic health disparities continue to grow each year, yet remain fairly unaddressed.

Preterm birth is an infant born before 37 weeks of pregnancy and micro-prematurity is an infant born before 26 weeks of pregnancy or an infant weighing less than 1 pound, 12 ounces. These babies have a long stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (or NICU) and they face many health problems throughout their lives such as developmental delays, problems of the eyes, heart, lungs, and learning disabilities.

When a woman learns she’s pregnant, there’s very little attention given to the prematurity, the statistics, and what it means to be the parent of a premature baby who needs to live in the hospital until they are healthy enough to go home. Factors that may cause a premature birth include: age, chronic stress, drug and alcohol use, chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease. For some women, the cause is unknown.

Once Upon a Preemie is the only children’s book written for the parents of babies born early and have a hospital stay before going home. Studies indicate that reading to preemie babies stimulates brain growth and development and also fosters bonding between parent and child. Once Upon a Preemie offers messages of hope, faith, and love, which are the essential ingredients for nurturing a preemie baby in the NICU.

Does being born premature have anything to do with a child’s personality? Its some mean kids out there these days.

THERE ARE SOME LONG TERM DISABILITIES ASSOCIATED WITH PREMATURE BIRTH WHICH MAY AFFECT A CHILD’S BEHAVIOR. THESE INCLUDE ADHD AND A NUMBER OF OTHERS THAT COULD CAUSE BEHAVIORAL CHANGES.

What is the survival rate for those babies born who only weigh one pound? And how long does it usually take for them to hit the ALB mark?

UNFORTUNATELY EXTREMELY LOW BIRTH WEIGHT BABIES SURVIVAL RATE IS NOT AS HIGH AS OTHER LOW BIRTH WEIGHT BABIES. PARENTAL PRAYERS, AND BEING PRESENT WITH A TINY BABY MAY HELP. ALSO EACH BABY IS DIFFERENT AND GROWS AT THEIR OWN PACE.

Do you know what specifics about increased income and advanced education in our women can cause premature birth? Are there longitudinal research studies that support these conditions as a contributor to the disparity in premature births between black/Hispanic women and white women? What about Asian women and other cultures of color?  

LONG TERM AND CONSTANT STRESS FACED BY AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN IS A KNOWN MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR TO THE PRETERM BIRTH DISPARITIES. THE VIDEO DOCUMENTARY, “UNNATURAL CAUSES” EXPLORES SEVERAL RESEARCH STUDIES DOCUMENTING THE RACIAL DIFFERENCES IN BIRTH OUTCOMES AND THE ROLE STRESS, RACISM, AND DISCRIMINATION PLAYS IN ONE’S HEALTH AND HEALTH OUTCOMES.

Good morning, my grandson was born 8 weeks early. He was late walking and talking, he was diagnosed as developmentally delayed. Was this because of being born early?

IT COULD BE. MANY PREMATURE BABIES DEVELOP SLOWER THAN THEIR FULL TERM PEERS. HOWEVER, THERE ARE EARLY INTERVENTION PROGRAMS AND SERVICES THAT CAN HELP PREEMIE CHILDREN CATCH UP MENTALLY AND DEVELOPMENTALLY.

Did the doc say that preemies were babies born at less than 37 weeks?

YES. PREEMIE BABIES ARE BORN BEFORE 37 WEEKS GESTATION AND MAY REQUIRE SOME TIME IN THE NEONATAL INTENSIVE CARE UNIT (NICU). A MICROPREEMIE IS A BABY BORN BEFORE 26 WEEKS GESTATION AND THEY REQUIRE  A LONGER NICU STAY.

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