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Duke Ob/Gyn Collaborates with CHDI, Duke Children’s for World Prematurity Day Campaign

Monday, November 12, 2018

Duke Launches Project HOPE1000: A Mother-infant Cohort Study and Biobanking Initiative

Healthy moms and babies are our goal! The Duke Children’s Health & Discovery Initiative, Duke Ob/Gyn and Duke Children’s are teaming up to share information and encourage ways to achieve this. Raising awareness about premature birth, and the first 1000 days of life from around the time of conception to age 2, when profound impact on lifelong health and well-being are determined, are keys to accomplishing this goal.

  • Pregnancy is the most significant alteration in anatomy and physiology during adulthood. Pregnancy affects nearly all major organ systems and is characterized by alterations in heart and kidney function, respiration, and hormone secretion, among others.
  • Premature birth is the leading cause of death in children under the age of five worldwide. Babies born too early may have more health issues than babies born on time, and may face long-term health problems that affect the brain, the lungs, hearing or vision.

We’ve joined forces to educate women about these two important issues! On Friday, Nov. 16th, Duke Departments will be noticeably outfitted in purple attire in commemoration of World Prematurity Day*, and to raise awareness about the launch of the Project HOPE (Health Outcomes related to Pregnancy and early-life Exposures) 1000. Project HOPE 1000 is a study of mothers and infants led by Geeta Swamy, MD, and Sallie Permar, MD, PhD, and funded by the Translating Duke Health Initiative.

“Reducing premature birth is a major population health goal for Duke Ob/Gyn and Duke Health,” noted Matthew D. Barber, MD, MHS, Ob/Gyn Department Chair. “While nationally preterm birth rates continue to rise, we are starting to see some progress in our local community. The preterm birth rate in Durham significantly decreased, and Raleigh was highlighted as an area that is improving preterm birth rates. Duke’s Prematurity Prevention Program partnering with our Pregnancy Medical Home program are making a difference in our community and have been highlighted as a model to help decrease the preterm birth rate. We are committed to ensuring that we continue to live our Mission: Deliver better health and hope to all women and their families through compassionate care, innovation, education and discovery.”

For the Project HOPE 1000 study, pregnant participants will enroll in the first or second trimester of pregnancy (up to 24 weeks of gestation) and have study visits during each trimester of pregnancy, at delivery of their baby, and at 4-6 weeks postpartum. Each participant will wear a silicone wrist band, for 5 days each trimester, and will fill out study surveys related to diet, environmental exposures, and social determinants of health. Data will be used to identify factors that contribute to poor birth outcomes, including pre-term birth and low birthweight, maternal health outcomes, and longer-term child health and well-being outcomes, such as academic achievement and growth trajectories. The Project HOPE 1000 study launches next week, coinciding with World Prematurity Day, and will enroll over the next 3 years. For more information about the study, please email

“Although it is widely known that the first 1000 days of life profoundly influence lifelong health and disease, there have been few longitudinal studies that have investigated data on health, socioeconomic factors, and environmental exposures collected beginning in pregnancy through the second year of life and beyond,” said Ann Reed, MD, Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Physician-in-Chief of Duke Children’s. “The Project HOPE1000 study will be instrumental in furthering development of preventive strategies, diagnostics and early therapies to promote health in child and adult populations.”

*Officially commemorated on Saturday, November 17th (Duke will participate on Nov. 16th). The March of Dimes is not associated with the Project Hope 1000 study.