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VCU professor awarded for advocacy, work to improve birth outcomes

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Saba Masho, M.D., Dr.PH

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine professor Saba Masho, M.D., Dr.PH, was recently honored as a 2015 Birth Matters Advocate of the Year for her work in improving birth outcomes.

Masho, an associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health, was principal investigator for a $1 million Strong Start for Mothers and Infants grant, bringing Centering Pregnancy to five locations that support low-income, underprivileged, expectant mothers in Virginia. The CP prenatal care model is designed to address individual clinical, lifestyle and behavioral problems facing pregnant women.

I am so humbled to have been chosen for this award, knowing that there were many qualified applicants.

Birth Matters Virginia is an organization that works to educate women and provide positive birth outcomes for women statewide. Peggy Caister, the organization’s director, said selection of award recipients was highly competitive, but decisions were made based on a candidate’s success in eliminating health disparities for women.

Work produced from the Strong Start for Mothers and Infants grant includes risk assessment and management, targeted education, and group support for pregnant women through the CP model, Masho said. She was one of two people selected for the award.

“I am so humbled to have been chosen for this award, knowing that there were many qualified applicants. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the committee for selecting me as a recipient,” Masho said. “This award is possible because of the hard work of the Strong Start sites, Greater Prince William’s Community Health Center, Richmond Health District, and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Virginia Commonwealth University, who work tirelessly, providing services to underserved pregnant women. A special thanks also goes to the March of Dimes, Virginia Chapter; the Department of Medicaid and Medicare Services; the Virginia Department of Health; and the Centering Health Care Institute.”

Masho will be publicly honored at a ceremony Nov. 8 in Charlottesville, Virginia, along with the other awardee, Claudia Booker.

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 225 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Seventy-nine of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. The VCU Health brand represents the health sciences schools of VCU, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center and Level I trauma center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, MCV Physicians and Virginia Premier Health Plan. For more, please visit www.vcu.edu and vcuhealth.org.