Preemie Projects

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Preterm birth is often overlooked in the media in favor of other high profile medical difficulties but there are many researchers investigating ways to reduce the risk of preterm birth and improve outcomes for preemie babies. Find out about some of interesting studies that are being undertaken.


Finding out about Preemie Research

It can be frustrating for parents of preemies who are often not kept in the loop about important discoveries about reducing the risk of preterm birth or medical interventions designed to limit short and long term consequences of being born preterm. This section is designed to inform parents and friends of preemies about some of the research being done around the world to help premature babies.

If you're a researcher interested in sharing your discoveries or what you're currently working on please send us an email at

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Preterm Birth and Health Outcomes Team

Study Details

Group Name:

Preterm Birth and Health Outcomes Team (PreHOT)

University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta: Led by Dr. Suzanne Tough

Researcher & Location:

Dr. Karen M. Benzies, RN, PhD

Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary

Calgary, Alberta

Background Information about Preemie Research Group:

Our interdisciplinary research team studies the genetic, biological and psychosocial factors associated with preterm birth.

Areas of expertise and interest in preterm birth:

Psychosocial factors associated with preterm birth. Interventions to promoted cognitive, language and social development in late preterm (34 to 36 weeks gestation) infants

Current projects related to preterm birth and what you hope to achieve:

We are nearing completion of a multi-site randomized controlled trial to test the effects of video-modelled play on first-time fathers’ skill in interaction with his late preterm infant.

Achievements: Research Operating Grants

1. Alberta Centre for Child, Family & Community Research

  • Effects of an educational intervention on fathers’ interaction skills with infants born between 34 and 36 weeks gestation.
  • $99,908
  • RSO: 2008/09/03 – 2010/06/30
  • Chief Investigator: K. Benzies
  • J. Magill-Evans, T. Lacaze-Masmonteil, W. Yee, A. Nettle Aguirre, L. Blahitka, S. Leew

2. Alberta Centre for Child, Family & Community Research

  • Does the intensity of an educational intervention have an effect on fathers interactional skills with his late preterm infant?
  • $39,999
  • RSO: 2008/09/01 – 2009/08/31
  • Chief Investigator: K. Benzies
  • J. Magill-Evans, T. Lacaze-Masmonteil, W. Yee, A. Nettle Aguirre, L. Blahitka, S. Leew

3. Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR) Interdisciplinary Team Grant

  • Preterm birth & healthy outcomes team.
  • $5,000,000
  • 01/2008 – 12/2012
  • Chief Investigators: D. Olson & S. Tough
  • K. Benzies, B. F. Mitchell, D. Slater, A. Bocking, L. Guilbert, S. Lee, S. Leew, S. Lye, A. Lyon, J. Magill-Evans, D. McNeil, G. Metz, C. Newburn-Cook, C. Pennell, D. Schopflocher, M. Sommerville, S. Wood, W. Yee

Findings and Publications:

Collisson, B. A., Mosher, A. A., Rainey, K. J., Tanaka, S., Tracey, C., Xu, C., Benzies, K. M., & Olson, D. M. (2011). Knowledge Translation: Principles and Practicalities for Trainees within Interdisciplinary Health Research Teams. Clinical and Investigative Medicine, 34(6), E336.

Duthie, K., *Riddell, M., *Weller, C., *Coltan, L., Benzies, K., & Olson, D. (2010). Alberta’s new health research paradigms: Are graduate students being prepared for interdisciplinary team research? Clinical and Investigative Medicine, 33(3), E213 - E218. Impact factor: 1.097. url:

Benzies, K. M., Magill-Evans, J., & Harrison, M. J. (2008). Strengthening new fathers’ skills in interaction with their 5-month-old infants: Who benefits most from a brief intervention? Public Health Nursing, 25(5), 431-439.

Magill-Evans, J., Harrison, M. J., Benzies, K. M., Gierl, M., & Kimak, C. (2007). Effects of parenting education on first-time fathers’ skills in interactions with their infants. Fathering, 5(1), 42-57.

Future Challenges:

Our next major challenge is to make sense of the genetic, biological and psychosocial data we have collected to develop some clear ideas about profiles or specific risks associated with preterm birth. The epigenetic associations will be most challenging to explain.

Public contact details:


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Preemie, Premmie, or Prem?

Most babies spend between 38 and 42 weeks in their mother’s uterus. So, technically a preterm birth, preemie, premmie, or prem, is an infant who is born less than 37 completed gestational weeks. 

Read More: Defining Preterm birth



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