A message from Terrie Inder, MD, MBChB
Your partnership is essential in helping us to create a new home for the 3,000+ babies that pass through our newborn intensive care unit (NICU) each year. This new space allows us to develop unique programs of clinical care and discovery that are changing how we care for babies from Boston and beyond. Below are just a few recent highlights of the advances made possible by your generosity:
- Optimizing our environment: Research has shown that early experience plays a profound role in shaping brain development. We have reduced adverse experiences such as sharp noise and bright light, creating a tranquil, nurturing space where parents can bond with their babies and help support their developing brains.
- Improving neurological outcomes: Our new neurocritical care program lets us closely observe both premature and full-term babies at risk of brain injury. By monitoring brain waves and blood flow, we can provide the best possible care and improve our understanding of how particular treatments impact the developing brain at this critical stage.
- Partnering with parents: Families can now be together 24 hours a day, with parents sleeping beside their baby in their own bedroom. This is a remarkable change, particularly for those babies who spend lengthy stays in our care. Families are present to participate in decision-making around care, which helps us learn more about what matters most to families and how we can best support them, both during their NICU stay and after discharge.
- Enhancing nutrition: We now have a program to measure the content of every mother’s breast milk, monitoring calories, protein, and fat to ensure that every baby receives the essential nutrients they need to support healthy growth.
- Broadening our reach: Our new neonatal transport program allows us to bring in and care for babies from across the state and beyond, increasing the impact of the specialized care we offer. This includes the use of cooling blankets for babies who have had a difficult start, reducing their risk of death or long-term disability by 25-50%.
- The Brigham Baby Academy: Through this new program, we provide books so that parents can read to their baby every single day, knowing that research shows that human language during this critical period of brain development is essential to later development.
- Expanding research programs: We are exploring new pathways of discovery in order to inform practices that are best for our newborn babies. We have many active research studies, and are particularly excited to launch our new Infant Follow-up Program, a unique opportunity to understand and assess long-term outcomes and how to best support our babies as they grow.
- Growing our team: State-of-the-art patient care and research opportunities made possible by the new space help us to recruit the best and brightest faculty and staff.