Fighting Infant Mortality:
Magee-Womens Research Institute, RAND Corporation, and University of Pittsburgh
Founded in 1992, Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI) is the nation’s first and largest independent research institute exclusively devoted to health conditions affecting women and their infants. Under the leadership of Yoel Sadovsky, M.D., scientific director of MWRI, Magee’s9-90 campaign seeks to raise $100 million to sponsor research focusing on human life in the first nine months as a tool to predict and change the course of illnesses that can occur over a lifetime.
A $10 million Foundation grant over five years will support three separate projects around infant mortality: launch of the Magee Summit and Prize, a competition and international summit to identify and support the world’s most promising reproductive science researchers with a $1 million research prize; a commitment to basic research, data analysis, and clinical care expertise related to infant mortality; and the Magee Obstetrical Maternal Infant (MOMI) databank, which enables predictive modeling—using data mining and probability—to forecast outcomes. Because the MOMI database contains information collected at the time of birth for about all 190,000 deliveries at Magee-Womens since 1995, it is in a singularly unique position to address the region’s high rates of infant mortality, particularly among African-American women. MOMI provides critical tools to identify mothers of infants at risk throughout the region, and offers them proven interventions based on that risk.
A leader in biomedical research and clinical care using informatics, associate professor Dr. Rich Tsui heads the Tsui lab which is affiliated with the department of biomedical informatics at the University of Pittsburgh. In collaboration with the RAND Corporation, which has a long history of working to improve the maternal and child healthcare system, the Tsui lab seeks to develop a real-time, adaptive predictive model of infant mortality and a model to evaluate the efficacy of various interventions. A Foundation grant of $725,000 over two years to the Tsui lab and another grant of $640,000 over two years to the RAND Corporation are supporting the creation of a database to predict individual risk of infant mortality and a plan to optimize referrals to promising or proven interventions.