Success after Prematurity

Led by Michael Msall, MD and Susan Hintz, MD MS
University of Chicago and Stanford University

The Success after Prematurity Node is focused on ensuring that children born prematurely and their families are able to thrive once they leave the NICU. Advances in obstetrics and neonatal medicine have resulted in improved survival rates for preterm infants. Remarkably, >75% extremely (<28 weeks) preterm infants who leave the NICU do not experience major neurodevelopmental disabilities, although >50% experience more minor challenges in communication, perception, cognition, attention, regulatory and executive function that can adversely impact educational and social function resulting in physical, behavioral, and social health issues in adulthood. Even late premature (3236 weeks) infants have more neurodevelopmental challenges than term infants.

Social challenges including lack of family resources, unsafe neighborhoods, structural racism, and parental substance use, may compound biological vulnerabilities, yet existing services are ill equipped to respond.


An intervention system for premature infants designed according to life course health development principles would focus on health optimization from the start; support emerging developmental capabilities such as selfregulation and formation of reciprocal secure early relationships; be tailored to each child’s unique neurodevelopmental profile and social circumstances; and be vertically, horizontally
and longitudinally integrated across levels (individual, family, community), domains (health, education)
and time. Recognizing the increased demands placed on parents it would include parental mental health supports and provision of traumainformed care. This developmental scaffolding would incorporate parenting, health, and developmental interventions with the aim of improve health trajectories across the whole of the life course.

The goal of this research node is to bring together neonatal followup researchers who want to do a different kind of research: life courseinformed, codesigned and humancentered, adaptive, based in systems change principles. This group will start designing an intervention pathway that is scalable and
responsive to kids’ needs.


Engaging families of preterm babies to optimize thriving and wellbeing: exploring facilitators and barriers for scaffolding parenting across health, home, day care and early childhood education (PI: Msall, University of Chicago; Van Voorhees, U Illinois; multiple sites in Chicago)

Collaborative partners

Jessica DiBari, Maternal and Child Health Bureau

Susan Hintz, Stanford University

Leslie  Kowalewski, Stanford University

Ashwini Lakhshmanan, Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine

Jonathan Litt, Harvard University

Kartik Makker, Johns Hopkins University

Michael Msall, University of Chicago

Shirley Russ, UCLA

If you are interested in joining, please contact