Miami, Fla. – The Iota Pi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and Miami-Dade County Chapter of the March of Dimes hosted a premature birth awareness workshop Tuesday for the students of Dorothy M. Wallace Cope Center.

November is National Prematurity Awareness Month, which provides an opportunity to reflect on the 400,000 babies born preterm annually in the United States and how citizens can help to reduce the incidence.

“In Miami-Dade County, the preterm birth rate for Black women is 14.1, almost two times higher than that of white women (7.2),” said Tenesha Avent, March of Dimes director of MCH Collective Impact.


“While there is no single cause of this complex, maternal health crisis contributing factors include reduced levels of educational attainment, food insecurity, rates of violent crime, poverty, and housing instability."

Alpha chapter President Leslie Elus said the root causes “that adversely impact birth outcomes in Miami-Dade County have to be addressed in an innovative fashion if we hope to make strides for mothers and their babies."

Other sponsors of the Nov. 23 program included Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Community Health of South Florida, Inc. and Mu Gamma Zeta and Beta Tau Zeta Alumnae Chapters of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

The Dorothy M. Wallace COPE Center was built in 1992 to serve the residents of Southwest Miami-Dade County. COPE specializes in educating teen mothers in being responsible, caring parents while simultaneously assisting young mothers to continue working towards their academic and post-secondary goals by meeting Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ curriculum. The school is a comprehensive facility that houses 20 classrooms, three technology/curriculum labs, an onsite licensed early childcare facility with two playgrounds, an early childhood classroom with state-of-the-art interactive whiteboards, a full-service medical clinic, parenting lab, and health science lab. Students may complete one of four academy tracks where they can earn certifications in child care, education, or allied health.


Darlene Sparks (Beta Tau Zeta) and Anita Moore (Mu Gamma Zeta), presidents of local Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Chapters, talked to attendees about the importance of the workshop in reducing preterm birth outcomes in high-risk groups. They highlighted the legacy of Dorothy M. Wallace who was a local member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Afterward, the students, faculty,and staff engaged in a presentation conducted by a neonatologist from Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

At the conclusion of the program, students received a number of maternity gifts which included bilingual baby books, Bjingles pregnancy bundle kits, raffle prizes, and coupons for diapers and formula courtesy of the event sponsors.