Skip to main content

Maryland's PRIDE


Brenda Hussey-Gardner, PhD
Director of Maryland’s PRIDE

The Maryland’s Premature Infant Developmental Enrichment (PRIDE) program is a unique collaboration between the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Baltimore City Infants and Toddlers Program (BITP). PRIDE provides a system of early intervention referral, eligibility evaluation, and service coordination that begins while the infant is in the NICU and continues until the child exits BITP. The service coordinators provide developmental monitoring, inclusive of attending NICU Follow-Up appointments, and facilitate the acquisition of needed services through BITP. Dr. Brenda Hussey-Gardner is the Director of Maryland’s PRIDE.

Maryland’s PRIDE has existed since 1999. It is recognized as a state-of-the-art program and appeared in the April 2002 issue of the journal Neonatal Network. In addition, Maryland’s PRIDE staff conducted a study of the trends in the follow-up of infants born prematurely. This data was presented at the Zero to Three Conference in New Orleans (2003) and at the Pediatric Academics Society conference in San Francisco (2004). In addition, trend data for ‘older’ preemies, those born at 32-36 weeks post-conceptual age, was presented at the Eastern Society for Pediatric Research, in Philadelphia (2007).

Since the original study, data regarding early intervention trends of infants born prematurely has been shared at numerous conferences, meetings, and in-service trainings, which include:

  • Prince George’s County Early Intervention Conference (2007)
  • Baltimore County Early Intervention Conference (2007)
  • Office of Special Education Program Conference (2007)
  • South Carolina Early Intervention Conference (2008)
  • MASHA Conference (2009)
  • Maryland Premature Health Network (2010)
  • MITP Leadership Meeting (2010)
  • Montgomery County Early Intervention In-service (2011)

In May 2012, Dr. Hussey-Gardner presented Maryland’s PRIDE to the Pediatric Department at Baystate Medical Center (an affiliation of Tufts University) and to the Massachusetts Early Intervention Program. The goal of the presentation and two-day Visiting Professorship was to forge a model of collaboration similar to Maryland’s PRIDE at Baystate Medical Center.

In May 2013, Dr. Hussey-Gardner, along with two of the service coordinators, presented Maryland’s PRIDE at the Advocacy in Perinatal Social Work International Conference. Subsequently, Maryland’s PRIDE was highlighted in the Autumn 2013 issue of NAPSWFORUM (the journal for the National Association of Perinatal Social Workers) as “A State-of-the-Art Early Intervention Program for Preterm and Medically Fragile Infants.”

In June 2015, representatives from the University of Mississippi Medical Center NICU and NICU Follow-Up Program spent three days at the University of Maryland to learn the Maryland’s PRIDE model as they desired to replicate it at their institution. In December 2016, Dr. Hussey-Gardner was a Visiting Professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center where she presented information on the collaboration between UMB and BITP. A 2018 review of BITP data revealed earlier referrals for PRIDE infants when compared to all other BITP referrals (p<.05) and less parent withdrawal (p<.05). The PRIDE model was presented at the 2018 DaSy conference. In June 2019, Dr. Hussey-Gardner presented information regarding PRIDE to an international audience at the Pediatrics and Neonatology conference in London.

A recent study evaluated the impact of PRIDE by comparing premature infants of low-income families who participated in BITP with and without PRIDE. Specifically, they examined whether premature infants in PRIDE were referred at a younger age and stayed in the program longer. In addition, they explored the status of infants at the time of their exit from BITP. Data was drawn from the BITP online database from 7/1/2008 to 6/30/2018. A total of 956 premature infants (nPRIDE = 271; nBITP = 685) who received medical assistance were included in the study. Findings indicated that PRIDE offers advantages in terms of younger referral age, longer length of stay in the program, and less parent withdrawal.

The program’s efforts to streamline the process not only expedited access to early intervention services, but also kept families from leaving the program, which may be due to the early formation of trusted relationships with the service coordinator. This study was accepted for presentation at the May 2020 Pediatric Academic Society meeting in Philadelphia.

For more information about Maryland’s PRIDE, contact Dr. Brenda Hussey-Gardner via email (