Perinatal Ultrasonographer
Barry Schmidt Dances

to Support Virtua’s Perinatal
Bereavement and Palliative Care Program


Barry Schmidt is a perinatal ultrasonographer who has been a Virtua employee for two decades. In his free time, Barry is an amateur ballroom dancer, based out of LaPierre Ballroom Dance Studio in Glassboro. Over the past several years, Barry has enjoyed helping out with the annual “Dancing with the Gloucester County Stars” event, managed by the Greater Woodbury Chamber of Commerce and facilitated by LaPierre Ballroom. He has even been a background performer in previous years!

In early 2019, Barry was approached to be a dancer in the 2019 event. Barry knew this would be a wonderful opportunity to raise funds for a cause that is very special to him! As he explains:


I love my work as a perinatal ultrasonographer in Virtua’s Maternal Fetal Medicine department. I have had the privilege of seeing the overwhelming joy that pregnancy can bring to families. I have also been witness to the overwhelming grief of pregnancy loss. Over the years, prenatal testing has become more prevalent and more in-depth. But these advances mean that more parents are learning devastating news before their babies are born. Essentially, the ability to diagnose has raced ahead of the ability to care for these families and their babies.

To give an example: a family comes into our MFM unit expecting to see that their baby is progressing well: good heartbeat, good movement, and maybe even a glimpse of a sweet silhouette or a funny “the baby was dancing!” story. But during the scan, I can detect a life-limiting abnormality or a fetal loss. Together with the physician – or sometimes even alone – I am often the first person to discuss this tragic news with the family. I have cried with many moms and dads, offering my support and consolation, but in the big picture, this time of support and guidance is just a brief moment. That family will head for home with heavy hearts, not to mention worries about whatever steps will come next for them and their baby.

Providing support for grieving families long after they leave my exam room is of the utmost importance to me. And that’s where Virtua’s Perinatal Bereavement and Palliative Care program comes in. This remarkable program, led by Ann Coyle, is an amazing resource for families who have experienced a loss. Ann meets privately with the family, offering them support and grief counseling, and letting them know about the various options for remembrance and celebrating their child and how their sweet baby has touched their lives. Ann even leads a workshop for Virtua clinicians, providing better insight into grieving families and helping us to provide care with dignity, compassion and love.

I chose to dance and raise money for Virtua Bereavement and Palliative Care program as a way to assist families who are going through a time of unimaginable loss.

Virtua’s Perinatal Bereavement and Palliative Care program helps to ensure that families who experience the loss of a pregnancy or infant loss have access to a multi-disciplinary range of services that provide comfort and support during a very difficult time. By making a gift in support of Barry as he dances in Dancing with the Gloucester County Stars, you will assist in so many ways:

·         When a family suffers a miscarriage, Virtua’s Bereavement team provides grieving parents with educational materials, information on local and national resources, and self-care kits that help them cope with the physical and emotional changes they face.

·         Families who suffer a stillbirth need support far beyond the hospital, and we are always there for families who have endured this immeasurable tragedy. In addition to information and resources, we provide books for siblings, care kits for grieving parents, and emotional support items such as memory boxes, angel gowns, footprint cards, and more.

·         Compassion and caring are always on trend, but it is important for us to keep up on research, trends, and techniques. Each year, we attend at least one professional conference, and we have recently launched Breaking Bad News (BBN) training for physicians, nurses and staff.

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