Delfina awarded Small Business Innovation Research grant

at Delfina
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San Francisco, CA (November 20, 2023) — Delfina Care Inc., an AI-powered pregnancy care platform, has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I Grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), part of the National Institutes of Health (Award Number 1R43HD114360-01). This one-year grant funds the research and development of a clinically actionable machine learning model for hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.

The U.S. is facing a serious maternal health crisis, and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) such as gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, and eclampsia are a leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. The incidence of HDP has nearly doubled over the past decade. Recent research underscores the importance of early identification for timely interventions, such as exercise, aspirin prophylaxis, ultrasonographic assessments for growth, and patient education, to prevent the onset and exacerbation of HDP. More accurate prediction of HDP risk earlier in pregnancy will help ensure these interventions occur as soon as possible for patients who need it most, and can help reverse the trend of increasing HDP. 

The Delfina data science team has previously developed a machine learning (ML) model to predict HDP, which won awards as part of the NICHD Decoding Maternal Morbidity Challenge. The goal of this research is to enhance Delfina’s existing models by incorporating additional information on blood pressure trajectories during pregnancy. 

To Delfina CEO Senan Ebrahim, MD, PhD, this research is crucial: “Delfina’s award-winning AI algorithms are what set us apart, and will ultimately move the needle on pregnancy outcomes in the U.S. We are eager to incorporate new findings to make our software even more effective.”

The work will be led by Delfina’s VP of Data Science, Isabel Fulcher, PhD, and co-investigators Noam Finkelstein, PhD, Ali Ebrahim, PhD, Tim Wen, MD, MPH, and Bonnie Zell, MD, MPH. The Delfina team will collaborate with Naleef Fareed, PhD, Alexis Gimovsky, MD, and Kartik Venkatesh MD, PhD, to develop a user-centered display that is clinically interpretable to obstetricians and certified nurse midwives.

About Delfina

Delfina is a company creating an AI-powered proactive system for pregnancy care. Delfina Care uses proprietary predictive models to improve maternal and child health outcomes by helping providers optimize care plans during pregnancy and postpartum. Delfina’s software securely monitors patient health data and supports care teams with insights to personalize pregnancy care.



NICHD was founded in 1962 to investigate human development throughout the entire life process, with a focus on understanding disabilities and important events that occur during pregnancy.

Since then, research conducted and funded by NICHD has helped save lives, improve well-being, and reduce societal costs associated with illness and disability. 

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