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St. Luke’s Physician and NICU Nurse Awarded Regional March of Dimes ‘Physician’ and ‘Nurse of the Year’
October 20, 2015

St. Luke’s NICU Recently Named First NATIONAL Site of the Year

BETHLEHEM, PA (10/20/2015) – The March of Dimes recently recognized Neonatologist Kimberly Costello, DO, FAAP, Director of Neonatology, St. Luke’s University Health Network as “Physician of the Year,” and awarded St. Luke’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse Karen Metzger, LPN, “Nurse of the Year.”

“Caring for preterm and ill newborns has been my life's work of which I am honored,” said Dr. Costello. “It is a true gift for a family to allow us to help them through this journey. When one spends countless sleepless nights caring for the sickest, tiniest babies and then sees them grow and thrive and visit years later smiling, walking and playing... that is the true pleasure that I receive from Neonatology.”

She continued, “The research that the March of Dimes funds has made these recoveries and support possible for many families. These babies and families are fighting the odds minute by minute, and I am truly grateful to be able to be by their side through this extraordinarily difficult time. Miracles happen at St. Luke’s, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.”

Dr. Costello earned her DO at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Philadelphia and is board-certified in neonatal-perinatal medicine and general pediatrics.

Additionally, Karen Metzger, LPN, has been a NICU nurse at St. Luke’s University Hospital – Bethlehem for more than 30 years. “Focusing on parent involvement and teaching is my main goal, reinforcing information that the parents have learned and filling in the gaps to make transition to home safe for babies and families,” she said. “Being part of the NICU team at St. Luke’s is extremely rewarding and being awarded the Nurse of the Year by the March of Dimes is such an honor. I am so proud to say I am part of the NICU team at St. Luke’s.”

St. Luke’s two NICUs are certified to provide advanced care to critically ill newborns and premature babies. Staffed 24/7 by fellowship-trained, board-certified neonatologists, neonatal nurse practitioners and a team of specially-trained nurses, lactations consultants, occupational and physical therapists, the NICUs at St. Luke’s offer the latest in technology, developmental techniques and family support. St. Luke’s Level III NICU (the highest level of NICU care offered in the Lehigh Valley region) is located in St. Luke’s University Hospital – Bethlehem, and St. Luke’s Allentown Campus offers a Level II NICU.

March of Dimes Announces St. Luke’s as the First National NICU Site of the Year
Earlier this year, the March of Dimes announced its first annual NATIONAL Site of the Year Award Winner: the Pennsylvania Chapter’s NICU Family Support Program at St. Luke’s University Health Network, headquartered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The National NICU Family Support® Site of the Year award recognizes outstanding achievements made at one program site each year. This prestigious award allows the March of Dimes to recognize the breadth and depth of work done by a NICU Family Support program in five key areas: high quality and innovative services to families, strong collaboration with the hospital partner, local and national promotion of the program, integration of families and volunteers throughout the program, and demonstrating program impact.

The St. Luke’s University Health Network NICU Family Support program was established in 2009. In 2014, the program achieved success across a variety of indicators. St. Luke’s is the ONLY hospital in the region to offer the March of Dimes NICU Family Support Program for families with premature infants. St. Luke’s program is one of the first licensed programs within the state of Pennsylvania and establishes St. Luke’s as a participant with 140 other NICU's nationwide. The network serves to help parents cope with NICU hospitalization and offers support through nursing education and connecting with other families with similar experiences.

Along with a group of very committed volunteers and NICU staff, the NICU Family Support Program has changed the culture of the NICU to encourage kangaroo care (the practice of holding a baby to your bare chest, creating beneficial skin-to-skin contact) for all families. The Family and Staff Advisory Committee assisted in the selection of special chairs to enhance kangaroo care, provided “cuddle covers” as an additional means of privacy during kangaroo care sessions in the open design NICU, and regularly educated families and staff on the benefits to preemies of skin-to-skin contact in the first months of life. The program was featured on March of Dimes social media outlets with moms and nurses wearing their ”Hugs Heal” t-shirts, bringing attention to kangaroo care, the NICU Family Support program, and World Prematurity Day. The NICU Family Support program at St. Luke’s University Health Network demonstrates how March of Dimes services in the NICU have a time-proven, positive impact, according to the March of Dimes.

About the March of Dimes
The March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.org. Find the March of Dimes on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Caption: The March of Dimes recently recognized (left) Neonatologist Kimberly Costello, DO, FAAP, Director of Neonatology, St. Luke’s University Health Network as “Physician of the Year,” and awarded St. Luke’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse Karen Metzger, LPN, “Nurse of the Year.” (right)
Media Contact:
Denise E. Rader
Director, Network Media Relations
St. Luke's University Health Network

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