Delta Sigma Theta, a member of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, showed support for research on preterm birth with its prematurity awareness event last Tuesday.
Samantha Kohler, chapter president and senior sociology major, said the sorority holds an annual event for prematurity awareness to go along with March of Dimes, a national organization that funds lifesaving research and works to end premature birth defects.
Delta Sigma Theta put on the event Tuesday night in the Zeidman lecture room in the Brown-Lupton University Union. Members asked attendees to bring baby socks and hats to donate to Cook Children’s Hospital and had a presentation with facts about premature birth.
“Usually we do a table event for it, pass out information, tell statistics just to get a little information out,” Kohler said. “We wanted to make it a little more personal to the people who come. You feel more involved if you do stuff like that, it really warms your heart.”
The United States’ rate of premature birth has risen by 36 percent in the last 25 years, and African-American women are at the greatest risk of having a preterm birth, according to Doctors for America.
Erin Jacobs, vice president of Delta Sigma Theta and a senior social work major, said spreading awareness to the groups at greatest risk is a critical part of avoiding prematurity.
“I think in order for future generations to succeed and make the world a better place we have to take care of ourselves and spread awareness about it right now,” Jacobs said. “Because, as was mentioned, it’s so prevalent in the African-American community.”
Delta Sigma Theta offered tips to avoid premature birth that included quitting tobacco products, avoiding alcohol and drugs, seeing a healthcare provider for medical check-ups and prenatal care and asking providers how to control diseases such as diabetes.
Ashlea Harper, a senior nursing major and treasurer of Delta Sigma Theta, said that working in the neonatal intensive-care unit for her clinicals made her realize how important the issue of researching premature birth is.
“The health outcome for these babies aren’t good,” Harper said. “Everything is still forming. Despite man’s best effort, there’s only so much they can do.”
In addition to this event, Delta Sigma Theta will hold a scholarship pageant for men next semester with the proceeds going to March of Dimes to fund research on premature birth.