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Loyola nursing grad joins state task force on birth outcomes

December 10, 2010

The number of premature births in Louisiana is a staggering 15.4 percent, which ranks Louisiana 49th in the nation and earned the state an “F” from the March of Dimes. Loyola University New Orleans School of Nursing graduate and registered nurse Ashley Rush M.S.N. ’05 is committed to changing that grade.

In November, Rush was named to the Louisiana Birth Outcomes Project Task Force, created to develop evidence-based, comprehensive statewide recommendations designed to improve birth outcomes. The task force will work in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to redirect state and federal funding towards proven practices that reduce infant mortality and premature birth rates.

“We spend a lot of money on these issues and don’t have the outcomes that equate to the money that we spend,” Rush said. “We are looking to reallocate some Medicaid dollars to different programs that will improve the care in the state of Louisiana and bring about more positive outcomes.”

Rush points to Louisiana’s rising obesity rate, high concentrations of poverty and a large rural population as leading contributors to premature births. The group’s initial focus will be on performance measurement, coordination of pre- and interconception care, patient safety and quality of care.

“I am very excited to be a part of this Task Force,” Rush said. “I used to work in neonatal intensive care, so this issue is very familiar to me and I look forward to being around people that I could learn from and help improve the outcomes for this state. I get sick of seeing Louisiana being 49th or 50th on the list, especially with something as important as this.”

For more information, please contact Matt Lambert in the Office of Public Affairs at 5448 or mlambert@loyno.edu.

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