should establish integrated multidisciplinary research centers. The objective of these centers will be to focus on understanding the causes of preterm birth and the health outcomes for women and their infants who were born preterm.
Consistent with the Roadmap initiative of the National Institutes of Health, these activities should include the following:
• Basic, translational, and clinical research involving the clinical, basic, and behavioral and social science disciplines is needed. This research should include but not be limited to investigations covered by recommendations pertaining to the etiologies of preterm birth; the psychosocial, behavioral, sociodemographic, and environmental toxicant exposure-related risk factors associated with preterm birth; the disparities in the rates of preterm birth by race and ethnicity; the identification and treatment of women at risk of preterm labor; quality of health care provided to infants born preterm; and health services research.
• Sustained intellectual leadership of these research activities is essential to make progress in understanding and improving the outcomes for women and their infants who have been born preterm.
• Mentored research training programs should be integral parts of these centers. Fostering the development of basic and clinical researchers, including facilitating opportunities for funding and promotion, is critical.
• Funding agencies should provide ample and sustained funds to allow these centers to investigate the complex syndrome of preterm birth, analogous to programs developed to study cancer and cardiovascular disease.
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