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Board of Visitor's Cerebral Palsy Prevention Program

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The Board of Visitors' Cerebral Palsy Prevention Program is a multidisciplinary program that involves specialists from the Center for Neuroscience Research, Fetal and Transitional Medicine, and the Divisions of Neonatology and Neurology.

Headed up by Anna Penn, MD, PhD, an investigator in the Center for Neuroscience Research, and Vittorio Gallo, PhD, Director of the Center for Neuroscience Research, the program will accelerate the testing of new treatments, forge new collaborations between clinicians and researchers, and raise awareness of cerebral palsy among policy-makers and future philanthropic supporters. The goal is to find new solutions to protect the brain development of the most fragile newborns and mitigate the effects in children living with cerebral palsy

Approximately 100 newborns at less than 28 weeks gestation are admitted to Children’s National each year. Of these, 50 percent are at an extremely low birth weight, resulting in an estimated eight new cases of cerebral palsy annually. 

The Preterm NeuroNICU (PNN) will be the first of its kind in the nation to focus specifically on detecting, understanding, and preventing brain development injuries and CP in this patient population. 

For more information, call 202-476-4448 or email the Program Administrator Eresha Bluth at


Xiomara's Story

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When Xiomara's mother Elena was 20 weeks pregnant, her ultrasound uncovered something that didn’t look right. Elena was referred to Children’s National Hospital to meet with Mary Donofrio, M.D., in the Fetal Heart Program who flagged a few potential heart issues and continued to monitor Xiomara throughout the remainder of the pregnancy.

Read More of Xiomara's Story