Improving health trajectories for premature babies and their families. 

Premature babies face a lot in the early part of their life, and thus, we need to ensure that they are well taken of and their families are supported, too.


Photograph of small, premature infant in the NICU.

Node Leadership

Premature delivery is a traumatic event for families.[i] Children born extremely prematurely have complex needs for developmental, psychological, and social supports, and are at risk of being underserved in the current system. [ii][iii] Translational research networks must dismantle system-level silos by enhancing cross-sector collaborations, exploring new ways to help families bridge gaps, and bringing diverse minds together in healthcare, technology, and other spheres.

Families that have experienced admission of a child to the NICU often experience a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).[iv]  Left unaddressed, this PTSD can have negative impacts on parent-child bonding, children’s neurodevelopmental progress and parent and child mental health in the short and long term. 

Node Studies

PROPOPPS: Prevention of Postpartum Traumatic Stress in Parents of Premature babieS – is a parental intervention designed to address PTSD symptoms and prevent long-term sequelae. The PROPOPPS study is adapting a six-session group trauma-focused intervention for mothers and fathers of very preterm infants (<32 weeks EGA) and trialing it in  3 NICUs with diverse patient populations

Study sites: (1) Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; 2) Santa Clara Valley Medical Center; 3) Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center NICU.  Partners: The California Perinatal Quality Care Collaborative (CPQCC), CPQCC Family Advisory Council and participating NICUs family advisory teams, as well as NICU site-specific social workers, staff and providers, and the California Department of Public Health, MCAH Division (Title V)This intervention has potential for spread and scale across all participating CPQCC NICUs, and to NICUs nationally.


[i] DiBari JN, Rouse L. Parent Perspectives: Part 1—Considerations for Changing the NICU Culture. Children. 2023; 10(11):1735.

[ii] Lakshmanan, A., Rogers, E. E., Lu, T., Gray, E., Vernon, L., Briscoe, H. & Hintz, S. R. (2022). Disparities and Early Engagement Associated with the 18-to 36-Month High-Risk Infant Follow-Up Visit among Very Low Birthweight Infants in California. The Journal of Pediatrics248, 30-38.

[iii] Litt JS, Halfon N, Msall ME, Russ SA, Hintz SR. Ensuring Optimal Outcomes for Preterm Infants after NICU Discharge: A Life Course Health Development Approach to High-Risk Infant Follow-Up. Children. 2024; 11(2):146.

[iv] Shaw RJ, Givrad S, Poe C, Loi EC, Hoge MK, Scala M. Neurodevelopmental, Mental Health, and Parenting Issues in Preterm Infants. Children. 2023; 10(9):1565.