Newswise — (Baltimore, MD) – Mercy Medical Center, PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (PNC), and Stevenson University have partnered to bring onesies -- an infant's one-piece close-fitting lightweight garment – emboldened with special health and educational messages for newborns at Mercy’s Family Childbirth & Children’s Center.

Two Stevenson University students, Amelia Berninger (’17) and Samantha Smith (’18), who created the onesie design, presented samples to mothers and their newborns at Mercy’s Center on April 26th, on the 10th floor of The Mary Catherine Bunting Center, 345 St. Paul Place in downtown Baltimore City. A brief reception followed on the Mezzanine Level of the Bunting Center.

In spring 2016, PNC provided funding to Stevenson University for two undergraduates to design an onesie suited for newborns, reflective of PNC’s “Grow Up Great” commitment to early childhood education and the public health issues of “safe sleep.” Mercy’s Family Childbirth & Children’s Center will receive more than 3,000 onesies.

Launched in 2004, PNC’s Grow Up Great program helps children from birth through age five prepare for school by focusing on readiness in vocabulary development, math, science, financial education and the arts. Through distribution of  more than $121 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, the program has impacted approximately 3 million children throughout 19 states and the District of Columbia.

“More than 3,500 babies in the U.S. die every year while sleeping, often due to Sleep Related Deaths, formerly thought to be due to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or accidental deaths. For their first year, babies should lay on their backs for all sleep times. We know babies who sleep on their backs are far less likely to die of Sleep Related Deaths than those who sleep on their stomachs or sides. It’s important to educate new parents about this, and that’s part of the impetus behind this project,” said neonatologist Dr. Susan J. Dulkerian, Medical Director of Newborn Services in The Family Childbirth and Children’s Center at Mercy.

“Growing up great means growing up healthy, and that starts from day one in every child’s life. The onesie project was a perfect fit with our Grow Up Great initiative, a fun and clever way to spread the word about the importance of infant care,” said Laura Gamble, PNC regional president for Greater Maryland. “We were very impressed with the efforts of the Stevenson University students and excited to have the support of Mercy’s Family Childbirth & Children’s Center.”

In addition to the importance of infants sleeping “tummy-side up”, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)’s recently updated policy statement and technical report includes new evidence which supports skin-to-skin care for newborn infants. Coupled with the Grow Up Great words of instilling a love of reading and learning in children, all of these elements are incorporated in the writing developed by the Stevenson University students, and found on the new onesie.

“This project, a collaboration between Amelia and Sammy, was a strong design challenge -- to create something with meaning that also impacts the community. The students worked diligently and developed ways to visualize the unique messages of their clients, PNC and Mercy. The resulting design merges both the health aspects and educational care infants need as they grow. The onesie project offered our students valuable professional practice and exposure to real design challenges, but it also allowed them to navigate avenues where students can motivate change by building strong ties within their community,” said Meghan Marx, Assistant Professor of Art and Visual Communication Design at Stevenson University.

Hold Me, Rock Me, Read to Me, Talk To Me, Love Me—Put Me to Sleep This Side Up—Comfort Me, Teach Me” appears on the front (stomach) side of the garment.

Named The Best Place to Have a Baby by Baltimore’s City Paper, Mercy Medical Center provides a team of obstetricians and other clinical staff, as well as a variety of amenities, programs and education to help mothers, fathers and families prepare for pregnancy, birth and the transition to parenthood.

Mercy is home to Center for Advanced Fetal Care providing ultrasound, genetic counseling and testing, comprehensive high-risk pregnancy care, diabetic education, amniocentesis and assessment of fetal well-being.  Mercy’s NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) is a Level III-B intensive care facility offering private rooms and a full complement of specialists providing thorough diagnosis and treatment for a range of the most complex and high-risk conditions in newborn infants.

The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (, is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The PNC Foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $350 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.

Stevenson University, known for its distinctive career focus, is the third-largest independent university in Maryland with more than 4,100 students pursuing bachelor’s, master’s, and adult bachelor’s programs at locations in Stevenson and Owings Mills. 

Founded in 1874 by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility with a national reputation for women’s health care. Mercy is home to the acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health & Medicine and the +$400 Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information, visit Mercy at