Blue & You Foundation Gives $20,000 to March of Dimes for UAMS NICU Family Support Program

By ChaseYavondaC

The Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas awarded the money to the Arkansas chapter of the March of Dimes to go to the support program.

Through a joint effort of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and the Arkansas March of Dimes, the NICU Family Support Program provides comfort, information and other care to families in crisis.

UAMS NICU Blue & You

Bridgette Haddock and Tyler Pate with son, Rhett James Pate, who receives care in the NICU at UAMS

“Blue & You is happy to help a program that is doing so much for so many families as they cope with the stress of having a newborn in intensive care,” said Patrick O’Sullivan, executive director of the Blue & You Foundation.

In Arkansas, more than 5,000 babies are born prematurely, and the Arkansas chapter of March of Dimes provides families with programs and services in communities across the state. March of Dimes helps mothers have full-term pregnancies and researches the problems that threaten the health of babies.

“Having Blue & You join March of Dimes and UAMS in its support of families with babies in the NICU here at UAMS Medical Center means being able to do even more for them in 2016 in a true partnership, thank you,” said Kristin Powell, March of Dimes NICU Family Support specialist.

Bridgette Haddock of Greenbrier knows how vital the program is. Her son, now 2, was in the UAMS NICU in 2013.

“When I was first here in August 2013, we nearly lost my son,” Haddock said. “It was a very stressful day. The very next day we did some footprint art as part of the support program, and it really helped get my mind off the stress of the situation. I also got to meet people and do other fun things that kept me from worrying too much.”

UAMS NICU Blue & You

Haddock with son, Rhett James.

Her second son was born Jan. 16, and he also has needed care in the NICU. Haddock said the support and activities have been just as helpful for her this time, too.

According to a study of eight March of Dimes NICU Family Support programs that was published in 2007 in the Journal of Perinatology, the programs had a positive impact on the stress level, comfort level and parenting confidence of families.

“The UAMS Medical Center has 64 beds for newborns in its NICU,” said Becky Sartini, clinic services manager of the unit. “Often, all or most of those beds are filled, and that means 64 families are worried and concerned for their babies. Anything we can do for them to reduce their anxiety with activities and parent education helps them and their babies. This grant and support is deeply appreciated by everyone here — staff, families and patients.”

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield established the Blue & You Foundation in 2001 as a charitable foundation to promote better health in Arkansas. The Blue & You Foundation awards grants annually to non-profit or governmental organizations and programs that positively affect the health of Arkansans.

In its 14 years of operation, the Blue & You Foundation has awarded more than $24 million to 766 health improvement programs in Arkansas.

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.