November Webinar: Tom McElrath and Caroline Rouse, “Preterm Birth in Puerto Rico – A Changing Landscape”

On Monday, November 28th at 1:00pm EST, PROTECT will host the second webinar of 2016-2017 academic schedule.

This webinar will be presented by Dr. Thomas McElrath, Associate Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School and Dr. Caroline Rouse, OB/GYN at Brigham & Women’s Hospital.  The title of their presentation is, “Preterm Birth in Puerto Rico – A Changing Landscape.”

Preterm birth, or delivery prior to 37 weeks gestation, is a significant cause of morbidity worldwide and the leading cause of death for children under 5 years of age. While the current overall rate of prematurity in the United States is 9.6%, this figure and recent trends in preterm birth vary widely within the US. Puerto Rico, for example, had a preterm birth rate as high as 17% in 2010, which has now declined to 11.4% in 2016. While spontaneous preterm birth is an important contributor, contemporary data in the United States shows that up to half of iatrogenic late preterm births are performed for reasons better explained by provider behavior. This presentation will give an overview of the recent history and current state of preterm birth in Puerto Rico as compared to the rest of the United States, describe a study of provider-initiated preterm birth at a hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and explore the types of interventions that may help the preterm birth rate in Puerto Rico continue to decline.

Dr. Thomas McElrath is an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School. He is also an attending in Maternal-fetal Medicine at The Brigham & Women’s Hospital where he is the Director of the Preterm Prevention Clinic as well as the Principal Investigator of the Life Codes Birth Cohort. Dr McElrath has a PhD in mathematical demography. His research interests center on biomarker epidemiology for preterm birth and preeclampsia risk stratification. He is also has active interests in global women’s health with obstetrical development projects in Shangri and Haiti.

Dr. Caroline Rouse is a board certified in OB/GYN and is a fellow in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She has an interest in Global Health and the provision of obstetrical care in developing countries. Specifically, she is interested in the interaction between physician practice patterns and culture and the delivery of antenatal care.

To learn more about joining this webinar, contact Melanie Smith at