The Preterm Birth Initiative (PTBi) is a multi-year, transdisciplinary effort led by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and jointly funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Marc and Lynne Benioff.
Complications of preterm birth are the leading cause of death among children under five years worldwide. Over 15 million babies are born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) each year, and nearly 1 million die within the first 28 days of life. Among survivors, many are at significant risk for short- and long-term morbidities.
Preterm birth is a complex syndrome caused by the interplay of multiple biological, social, and environmental factors. For women across the world, chronic stress and disempowerment are major drivers of preterm birth. In California, women of color who are economically disadvantaged are disproportionately affected by prematurity and poor birth outcomes. The PTBi aims to contribute to the reduction of the burden of preterm birth in selected sites in Northern California, Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda. By taking a human-centered design approach that is driven by local context and community partners, the PTBi will focus on two specific long-term outcomes: the reduction of preterm birth rates, and the increased survival and wellbeing among babies born prematurely.
The PTBi is committed to aligning the best of discovery and implementation sciences in a transdisciplinary way to increase uptake of existing interventions, create new solutions, and better understand the nature of prematurity in mothers, newborns, and their communities. The PTBi will support several approaches to attract new minds to the field of prematurity research, including a tailored non-accredited post-doctoral fellowship in prematurity that we hope will provide a unique opportunity to build capacity in this field.