Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Health Promotion

First Committee Member

Dr. Melissa Tibbits

Second Committee Member

Dr. Shannon Maloney

Third Committee Member

Dr. Chad Abresch


Background: Preterm birth rates are a long-standing issue that has yet to be adequately addressed and prioritized. Nationally about 1 in every 10 infants are born prematurely in the United States. In the state of North Carolina, 1 in every 9 live births was preterm in the year 2020. The aim of the study was to determine the strategies organizations use in North Carolina to reduce preterm births in comparison to the CDC’s Five Strategy framework and to understand how the organizations address health equity and measure/evaluate the success of their initiatives.

Methods: Semi-structured one-on-one interviews were conducted with four organizations in the Triangle area of North Carolina. All interviews were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim using Results were analyzed using thematic analysis.

Results: Four individuals, representing four different organizations, participated in interviews. They all stressed how important preterm birth programs are important in reducing the rates of preterm births. Based on the interviews there were four overarching themes identified. The first theme was that there is no strategic framework for the programs being recognized. The second was that health equity is only being addressed by ensuring that healthcare providers are providing the same care to each patient no matter race, gender, or sex. The third theme was that the measurement of success is based on patient satisfaction tools and hitting specific quotas for funding rather than measuring the reduction of preterm births across the state. The fourth theme and final theme was the overlaps and gaps in services between programs. Four major overlaps and three major gaps were identified.

Conclusion: This study was able to provide some vital information on what preterm birth programs are being offered in the heaviest populated area of North Carolina, as well as determine how these organizations are addressing health equity and evaluating/measuring the effectiveness of the programs being implemented to reduce preterm births. However, more must be done to reduce preterm birth rates globally and nationally.