HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – The number of premature births in West Virginia has seen a significant increase in the past year.
Here in the Mountain State, more than one-in-ten babies are born prematurely and according to the CDC, this leaves West Virginia with the third highest premature birth rate in the country.
The Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University is now starting a new neonatal-perinatal program to train doctors while also providing the intensive care the newborns need.
Dr. Cynthia Massey, a Neonatologist at Marshall University says the university is working to train doctors to work with the unique problems they see in West Virginia. “A lot of them are drug exposed so we have a unique opportunity here to teach our doctors how to care for these babies,” says Dr. Massey.
She also says the goal was also to “give [students] the opportunity to stay here at Marshall because before this if you did your residency here at Marshall then you had to go on out of state somewhere to be trained.”
The school’s new program will work in conjunction with the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital at Cabell Huntington Hospital.
It is also set to begin in July of 2022 and will represent only the second program, like this, in the state.