Mead Johnson Nutrition (NYSE: MJN), a leading provider of pediatric nutrition products, and Hand to Hold, a national nonprofit Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) parent support organization, invite parents and caregivers to nominate NICU health care professionals for the NICU Heroes Award. The award honors doctors, nurses and other medical staff whose compassionate care and dedication help lessen the emotional toll of a NICU stay and help ensure the best outcome for baby and family. According to the March of Dimes, one in ten babies born in the US has medical needs at birth that are so serious that they need intensive care in neonatal intensive care units (NICU). Families of preemies and babies born with special health needs are often overwhelmed by their need for information and support while a baby is in the NICU, and NICU professionals can make a huge difference in the lives of these parents and their families. “Mead Johnson Nutrition and Hand to Hold’s Second Annual NICU Heroes Awards gives families an opportunity to publicly thank someone who made a significant impact in the life of their children and family,” said Ivonne Monteagudo, Senior Vice President and General Manager, North America and Global Marketing, Mead Johnson Nutrition. “As an infant nutrition company committed to nourishing the world’s children for the best start in life, Mead Johnson welcomes the chance to recognize the outstanding healthcare professionals who dedicate their lives to these youngest and most fragile of patients and perform heroics every day in NICUs across the country.” This year’s NICU Heroes Awards has been expanded to honor two NICU health care professionals for their compassion and dedication to improving outcomes for medically fragile babies and their families. Each nominee will receive a certificate of appreciation and a copy of their nominating essay. During the nomination period that ends June 6, 2014 at 5 p.m. CDT, parents and guardians can share stories highlighting the exemplary care families and their children received from NICU staffs throughout the United States. They can use the easy-to-complete nomination form at www.handtohold.org/hero. Two nominees will be chosen as winners by an independent panel of NICU health care professionals and NICU parents from around the country. During the NICU Heroes Awards ceremony at their hospital, winners will receive:
- a trophy and certificate, presented at the winner’s hospital;
- a $2,500 donation in their name to the pediatric healthcare charity of their choice*; and
- a one-year subscription to the Hand to Hold Resource Library, designed to provide education to parents during a NICU stay, for the winner’s hospital.
“NICU heroes understand that in order for babies to thrive, they must have smart, informed parents who are capable of meeting their child’s needs after discharge,” explained Kelli Kelley, Founder and Executive Director, Hand to Hold and mother of two preemies. “We are grateful for the NICU heroes who reach beyond their job descriptions to provide comfort, understanding and words of encouragement to help parents navigate their NICU journey. Our NICU Heroes strive to integrate parents into the daily care of their baby to ensure they are ready to meet the needs of a medically fragile child after discharge.”In 2013, the award’s inaugural year, parents and caregivers nominated more than 130 healthcare professionals. Neonatologist Dr. Gerard Cleary of Abington Memorial Hospital in Abington, Penn., was honored. Parents and guardians of children admitted to any NICU can submit nominations online at www.handtohold.org/hero through June 6, 2014. Winners will be announced July 29, 2014. Children admitted to the NICU need not have been born prematurely, do not have to be a current NICU patient, and may be any age. About Mead Johnson Nutrition Mead Johnson, a global leader in pediatric nutrition, develops, manufactures, markets and distributes more than 70 products in over 50 markets worldwide. The company's mission is to nourish the world’s children for the best start in life. The Mead Johnson name has been associated with science-based pediatric nutrition products for over 100 years. The company’s Enfa™ family of brands, including Enfamil ® infant formula, is the world's leading brand franchise in pediatric nutrition. For more information, go to www.meadjohnson.com . About Hand to Hold Hand to Hold is a community-based, national support program for parents of preemies, babies born with a special health care need and those who have experienced loss due to these or other complications. The nonprofit organization’s vision is to enable a network of families to offer support, comfort and understanding to one another, and to provide them with knowledge, information and resources to ensure the best outcome for their children and family. For more information, go to www.handtohold.org .