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The Marriott Hotel & Convention Center in Coralville, Iowa, was the site of this year's Saving Grace - A Night of Hope, our annual supporter benefit. Departing from past years, a new fun formula of tasting stations, musical entertainment, seated dessert, lively emcees, and even a comedian rounded out the serious presentations, pledge drive, and fundraising auctions. 


Awareness spread throughout the local community with the involvement of local companies, celebrities, and members of the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. Hope spread throughout room with stories of advances made helping women locally at the University of Iowa. The result was an engaging event that attracted at least 350 people and exposed new individuals, companies and organizations to the cause.  


The local Iowa community and our Foundation volunteers were generous in bringing everything together. Eighteen vendors set up food and beverage tasting stations, 74 silent auction items were donated, and 4 live auction items were featured. We grossed $40,000 from event ticket sales, donations, pledges, sponsorships, and auctions.


Additional photos and captions on Facebook help tell the story. 

The Nova Singers, yummy cake, and conversation were enjoyed prior to the evening's informational presentations and awards.


A great big thank you goes to this year's Saving Grace Committee-Event Co-Chairs: John and Brenda Warner, and Drs. Mark and Donna Santillan; Event Committee Members: Carrie Brus, Kelli Carlson, Stephanie Hamilton, Shawn Harmsen, Danielle Hiller, Brandy Huesmann, Mary Kenyon, Melody Kramer, Mary Mann, Lori Moughler, Rich Moughler, Barb Poell, Trisha Poole, Dorothy Rust, Zach Sanderson, and Cindy Volquardsen; and the many other wonderful volunteers that helped the day and evening of our event. 


Thanks to all who participated in our program and to all event sponsors, food and beverage vendors, auction donors, celebrities, media, and guests. Our five corporate sponsors were the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, Advanced Prenatal Therapeutics, Gina's BMW Motorcycles, and Siemen's. Our featured entertainers were Nova Singers, M. Jarvey Jazz, and John Bush Comedy. Our lively emcees were Ashley Hinson of KCRG-TV9 and Kirby Winn of the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center.


Note: Next year's Saving Grace - A Night of Hope will be in Minneapolis, MN and chaired by Jaime Nolan and Kristy Heer. The event will be held in September, date to be announced. 

Preeclampsia is a complex disorder that often confounds even the most skilled clinicians, and there are very few postgraduate courses offered on this subject. One of the missions of the Preeclampsia Foundation is to fill this gap by facilitating healthcare provider education on the subject with the aim of improving health care practices. Almost every year since the inception of
Saving Grace, the Foundation has sponsored a major continuing medical education event for healthcare providers in that region.

There was an added dimension to this year's CME course. Taking Saving Grace - A Night of Hope to Iowa City gave us the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy. On the eve of Saving Grace, we announced that we would be financially underwriting the "Controversies in the Care of Women with Preeclampsia: A National Debate." The all-day continuing medical education conference that was jointly sponsored by the Preeclampsia Foundation, the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, and the NIH Sponsored University of Iowa Women's reproductive Health Research Career Development Center. The day's program was titled "Controversies in the Care of Women with Preeclampsia, a National Debate."

For the 161 clinicians from 15 states and Canada, the real highlights of this post graduate course were the opportunity to hear from nationally known experts in preeclampsia research and clinical practice: Drs. James N. Martin, Jr., Thomas Easterling and Ananth Karumanchi, who are all members of the Preeclampsia Foundation's Medical Advisory Board.

Links to presentation handouts are available in the longer article about this conference on our website.

Last Thursday, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Task Force on Hypertension in Pregnancy released the electronic version of its executive summary  of evidence-based recommendations for treatment of women with hypertensive disorders in pregnancy. One recommendation was for healthcare providers to provide clear information to all expectant mothers about the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia and what to do if they occur.

In this same month, October 2013, the Journal of Maternal Fetal Neonatal Medicine published the results of the Preeclampsia Foundation's 2008 survey assessing the state of preeclampsia awareness among pregnant women. The survey results are included in the evidence presented by the College's recommendations.

The Journal of Maternal Fetal Neonatal Medicine article is titled "Prenatal education is an opportunity for improved outcomes in hypertensive disorders of pregnancy: results from an Internet-based survey." It was authored by Dr. Anne B. Wallis (Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, University of Iowa), Eleni Z. Tsigas (Executive Director of the Preeclampsia Foundation), Dr. Audrey Saftlas (Professor of Epidemiology, University of Iowa College of Public Health), and Dr. Baha M. Sibai (Visiting Professor, Depart. of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, University of Texas). The results might surprise you.
The Long Journey to New Patient Education Guidelines Began with Whom?

Answer: Every woman who ever uttered the words, "If only I knew..." after being stricken with preeclampsia.

A message from Executive Director Eleni T. Tsigas

The executive summery of the eagerly anticipated new guidelines for the diagnosis and management of hypertension in pregnancy was just published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (the College) in the electronic version of their November journal. 


The guidelines include a recommendation to provide preeclampsia education to all patients as a means of improving pregnancy outcomes. Healthcare providers need to inform women during the prenatal and postpartum periods about the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia and stress the importance of contacting healthcare providers if these are evident. 


The College is assuring its members that this can be done without increasing patient anxiety and by using effective health communication practices. We can help with that. Our educational materials are credible and shown to be effective, even with patients with lower health literacy. Our illustrated signs and symptoms tearpad was created and tested for just this purpose. 


We consider it an important accomplishment that the College and several state initiatives now include patient education as a routine recommendation and consider it a central consideration in all discussions about patient safety and quality improvement. Patient education early in the prenatal period, during pregnancy, and again after delivery (at the start of the postpartum period) is considered a best practice. 


Despite what I believe is a nationwide movement in patient education in preeclampsia now sweeping the country, the fact remains that this will be for naught if our healthcare providers don't act quickly and accurately when sick patients present for care. Thus, our mission must continue to include education for those who care for expectant and postpartum mothers, as well as partnering with numerous professional and consumer organizations to advance quality improvement and patient safety initiatives to reduce maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity. 


Numerous articles this month reflect the power of women and their surviving loved ones telling their personal stories and crying out everywhere: "If only I knew..." We salute the power of these collective voices and what you have already accomplished! Thank you.

Are You Eligible for this Research Study?

You may be eligible for this study if you have experienced preeclampsia and delivery at or before 34 weeks in either of your 2 most recent pregnancies, and you are currently pregnant. This is a study of a medication that may be useful in preventing recurrence of preeclampsia in women at high risk for recurrence. This is an FDA-approved medication for the treatment of high cholesterol, as well as for decreasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. In this study, the medication is experimental because it has not been approved for the prevention of preeclampsia in pregnant women. This study will evaluate the effects of this medication on chemicals in the blood that are associated with preeclampsia, the safety of the medication, and how the body handles and responds to the medication.

Participation in this study will involve collecting information from you and your medical records, physical exams, blood and urine collections, monitoring for side effects, and taking the study medication.


Seattle-area: For more information about participation, please contact the University of Washington Medical Center study coordinator Navi Gill, at 206-616-9902 or by e-mail at


Indiana-area: If you are interested in learning more about this study, please contact the study coordinator Amy McCormick at  317-630-8816 or


Pittsburgh-area: If you are interested in participating or learning more, please contact the study coordinator, Dawn Fischer, RN, at either 412- 641-5194 or


Investigators interested in our Study Participant Recruitment Services should contact the Preeclampsia Foundation at


Related articles shed light on why we need clinical trials for preeclampsia research and provide a thoughtful safety analysis of a potential treatment for severe preeclampsiaIn addition, is a registry of most federally and privately supported clinical trials conducted in the United States and around the world. gives you information about a trial's purpose, who may participate, locations, and phone numbers for more details. 

NOVEMBER 1, 2013
Improving Healthcare Practices Depends on Evidence
The evidence to support changes in healthcare practices to improve diagnosis and management is derived from data. To move data collection forward, the Preeclampsia Foundation launched The Preeclampsia Registry on September 9, 2013.

In addition to presenting a talk introducing the power and potential of the Registry to the clinicians attending the CME conference in Iowa City, Eleni Z. Tsigas suggested that patients participating in The Preeclampsia Registry will have a way to use their experiences to inform research -- a healthy outlet to channel what is often frustration, pain and grief. Pictured here, on either side of Tsigas, are Drs. Mark Santillan and Thomas Gellhaus of the University of Iowa, Department of Ob/Gyn faculty.

Registry Coordinator Alina Brewer, along with Scientific Advisor Dr. Ken Ward, will be delivering a similar talk at the National Perinatal Association meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah on November 7-9, 2013.



Last week's CME course in Iowa City was especially meaningful because one of the organizers of the conference was Dr. Mark Santillan, who was a Vision Grant recipient in 2012 and the CME conference course co-director. Also to be recognized are Dr. Kimberly K. Leslie, who headed the planning committee and is Chair of the UI Department of Ob/Gyn; and Dr. Thomas Gellhaus, course co-director, who is Director of the UI Division of Ob/Gyn.   


It was through the Preeclampsia Foundation Vision Grant that Dr. Mark Santillan, a young researcher, got a boost to pursue his interest in investigating preeclampsia. On a path for a brilliant research career, he is engaging his colleagues in improving health outcomes for women with preeclampsia and for their babies. 


The enthusiasm of Mark and his wife and lab partner, Dr. Donna Santillan, to support the Preeclampsia Foundation and the Foundation's local volunteers was demonstrated by their co-chairing the 2013 Saving Grace - A Night of Hope committee with John and Brenda Warner of Walcott, Iowa. 

Upcoming Activities
Atlanta, GA
November 5-10, 2013

Salt Lake City, UT
November 7-9, 2013

Third Annual PRE-EMPT Meeting
New Delhi, India
November 11-13, 2014

When I Wish Annual Giving Campaign
December 1-3, 2013
New Orleans, LA
February 2-8, 2014
Florence, Italy
March 26-29, 2014
Chicago, IL
April 26-30, 2014

Thank you for your fantastic Promise Walk support in 2013! Everyone's amazing dedication and hard work brought us just shy of reaching our $500,000 goal -- and there is one more opportunity this year to build upon this already impressive fundraising total. That's through Employee Matching Gift Programs.
So far, employer matching contributions donated during the 2013 Promise Walk season have totaled nearly $10,000! 
If you are a Federal employee, please consider giving to the Preeclampsia Foundation via the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC)  by December 15. The Preeclampsia Foundation's CFC number is 99819.
Your Personal Donations Equal Advancements

Science has gotten us closer, but there is still no known cause, definitive diagnosis, or treatment for preeclampsia. Your support funds the Preeclampsia Foundation's programs in research, education, advocacy and patient services. 
Mission Moment  
"Thanks so much for all the information and  for showing me that there are others like me and that there is hope!"  


~Sasha Frasier, Facebook post 
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