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Lake Regional, Gamm Achieve Star Award for Maternal Health

Monday, February 28, 2022
Mary Lou Gamm, R.N., BSN, RNC-OB, director of Lake Regional’s Women’s and Children’s Services Mary Lou Gamm, R.N., BSN, RNC-OB, director of Lake Regional’s Women’s and Children’s Services

Lake Regional Health System is proud to announce a new recognition from the Missouri Hospital Association for its care of new and expecting mothers.

Lake Regional has worked to improve the care and health outcomes of maternal patients with severely high blood pressure as part of the Missouri Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health’s Severe Hypertension in Pregnancy Collaborative. To recognize the quality improvement efforts achieved during this collaborative, MHA has recognized Lake Regional Health System and Mary Lou Gamm, R.N., BSN, RNC-OB, director of Lake Regional’s Women’s and Children’s Services, with an AIM Star.

“The evidence is clear — early intervention for hypertension can save the lives of a mother and child,” said Jon D. Doolittle, Missouri Hospital Association president and CEO. “AIM’s Severe Hypertension in Pregnancy Collaborative is a powerful tool in efforts to reduce maternal and child harm in Missouri. These hospitals are making a difference for their patients.”

“We are thrilled to receive this honor and so proud of Mary Lou for leading our team in providing exceptional care to new and expecting mothers,” said Melissa Hunter, R.N., MSN, executive vice president and chief nursing officer for Lake Regional. “Women who choose Lake Regional can feel even more confident knowing we have received the AIM Star recognition.”

Hypertension, known as high blood pressure, can have a devastating effect on a mother and baby. Preeclampsia, a condition signaled by high blood pressure, is the leading cause of maternal mortality — occurring in one in every 25 pregnancies.

Improving timely medication administration for patients with severely high blood pressure was a major goal. Lake Regional implemented evidence-based standards on its birthing unit, and involved the Lake Regional Emergency Departments and clinics. Lake Regional also participated in education and training, policy development, and data reporting, while increasing patient and family education on the reportable signs and symptoms of high blood pressure in pregnancy.

Gamm, a lake-area native, began working at Lake Regional in 1989 as a labor and delivery nurse. She was promoted to Family Birth Center nurse manager in 2004 and to director of Women’s and Children’s Services in 2018. During her leadership, Lake Regional also has become a Show-Me 5 hospital for providing evidence-based breastfeeding support, achieved minimal elective deliveries before 39 weeks and earned Level II Nursery designation, which means babies needing antibiotics, oxygen and other limited support, can stay at Lake Regional.

“Helping to create and implement changes that improve women’s health is rewarding work,” Gamm said. “I’m proud to be part of a caring team that delivers outstanding patient care and experiences.”

At Lake Regional Family Birth Center, mothers deliver their babies in a beautiful private suite with state-of-the-art safety features and comfortable furnishings for an overnight guest. Learn more at lakeregional.com/fbc.