For Immediate Release
Contact: Kaylyn Kendall Dines
At UMDNJ-Robert Wood
Johnson Medical School
October is SIDS Awareness Month in New Jersey
Health care professionals at the Sudden
Infant Death Syndrome Center of New Jersey of the University of
Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) are conducting educational
activities throughout the month of October to help parents and
child-care providers reduce the risk of infant mortality. SIDS
is the number one cause of infant mortality in the United States
for children who are between one month and one year of age.
The activities coincide with Governor
James E. McGreevey's proclamation that October is Sudden Infant
Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month in New Jersey. The proclamation
was presented to the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Center
of New Jersey, a statewide initiative that is part of the Department
of Pediatrics at the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
in New Brunswick. The program also has a site at the Hackensack
University Medical Center in Hackensack.
SIDS is defined as the sudden unexpected
death of a seemingly healthy infant and the cause is unknown.
"SIDS has a devastating impact on families.
Our goal is to help parents and child-care providers learn about
actions they can take to help reduce the risk," said Dr. Barbara
Ostfeld, professor of pediatrics and program director of the SIDS
Center of New Jersey at the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical
Health professionals from
the SIDS Center of New Jersey are conducting health education
activities through both the medical school and Hackensack University
Medical Center sites, focusing on a national campaign called Back
The Back to Sleep campaign,
which is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, offers
tips such as:
an infant on his or her back at bedtime.
pillows, quilts and other soft bedding from the crib.
exposing pregnant women or infants to tobacco smoke.
"Since the inception of the
Back to Sleep campaign in 1992, the incidence of SIDS has been
cut in half both statewide and nationally," said Dr. Thomas Hegyi,
vice chair of pediatrics and medical director of the SIDS Center
of New Jersey at the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
The SIDS Center of New Jersey,
established in 1988, has provided services to more than 2,000
bereaved families throughout the state. Its mission is to provide
culturally sensitive bereavement services, conduct research, and
provide health education programs. Many of its materials have
been distributed nationwide to child-care providers, schools,
visiting home nurse organizations, first responders and physicians.
The staff is currently adapting program curriculum and developing
materials to be distributed to countries in Eastern Europe.
The SIDS Center of New Jersey
is funded by a grant from the New Jersey Department of Health
and Senior Services and several foundations, including the C.J.
Foundation for SIDS, a national foundation based at Hackensack
University Medical Center. For more
information, call the SIDS Center of New Jersey at 800-545-7437.
UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson
Medical School is one of eight schools of the University of Medicine
and Dentistry of New Jersey, which comprises the state's only
three medical schools and dental school, as well as schools of
public health, nursing, health related professions and graduate
As one of the nation's leading
comprehensive medical schools, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical
School, with campuses in New Brunswick, Piscataway and Camden,
is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in education, research,
health care delivery and the promotion of community health for
the residents of New Jersey. With 2,500 full-time and volunteer
faculty, the medical school maintains educational programs at
the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels for more than
1,500 students, as well as continuing education courses for health
care professionals and community education programs.
The medical school encompasses
21 basic science and clinical departments and also integrates
diverse clinical programs conducted at its 34 hospital affiliates
and numerous ambulatory care sites in the region. UMDNJ-Robert
Wood Johnson Medical School also hosts 85 centers and institutes,
including The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, the Cardiovascular
Institute, the Child Health Institute of New Jersey, the Center
for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, and the Environmental
and Occupational Health Sciences Institute.