Without quality prenatal care, a pregnant woman is 10.9 times more likely to have a baby die and 5.6 times more likely to have a baby born with low birth weight. Research has shown that $1.00 of preventative care can save $6.00 of additional costs over the lifetime of a premature baby. Low birth weight breeds other significant problems including organs that are not fully developed, which can lead to lung problems and vision loss. These babies are 20 times more likely to die in their first year of life according to March of Dimes.
According to the “Child Well-Being in Collier County: A 2010 Update,” 38 percent of Collier County resident births were with less than adequate prenatal care, down four percentage points from 2006. Low-income women are among those most at risk for delivering low birth weight babies. They tend to use prenatal care less, perceive more barriers to care, have less positive reinforcement for receiving care, have less access to care, have lower education levels, maintain less healthy lifestyles, and have lower compliance with medical recommendations.
Through strategic brokering and partnerships and a $2,000,000 investment matched dollar for dollar by Florida State, NCEF has successfully introduced a fully renovated Primary Care Clinic at the Isabel Collier Read building in Immokalee, Florida. NCEF’s investment helped to finance renovations to the 29,000-square-foot medical clinic that had been donated to FSU by Naples Community Hospital Healthcare System in 2007. The building had originally been donated to NCH Healthcare by Isabel Collier Read in an effort to ensure that the medical needs of the community’s farm workers and other underserved residents would be met. After the deed on the property was transferred to FSU, Read endowed the medical school’s educational program in Immokalee with an additional gift. The gifts from Read and NCEF were eligible for state matching funds, which pushed the combined value of all three gifts to more than $13 million.
The Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida and Florida State University (FSU) College of Medicine Primary Care Clinic is one of Florida State University College of Medicine’s regional campuses. FSU students throughout the state have the opportunity to fulfill third-year required and fourth-year elective rotations in Immokalee. FSU medical students who spend part of their third and fourth years of study in Immokalee gain a more complete understanding of rural medicine while also contributing to the health of the community. Medical school faculty and students provide pediatric and maternal/infant care side-by-side with Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida providers and staff, almost doubling of the existing capacity for pediatric and pre-natal services in Immokalee.
The FSU Women’s Health Department moved into the Isabel Collier Read building in March, 2010. The department has one OB/GYN and one midwife on staff. There are also third and fourth year medical students from FSU’s College of Medicine completing rotations throughout the department. There are ten exam rooms, one ultrasound room, and one treatment room. The department offers prenatal and postnatal care, as well as standard gynecological care.