Preterm birth (PTB) is a common, serious, and costly health problem affecting nearly 1 in 8 births in the United States. Burdens from PTB are especially severe for the very preterm infant (<32 weeks' gestation), comprising 2% of all US births. Successful prevention needs to include newly focused and adequately funded research, incorporating new technologies and recognition that genetic, environmental, social, and behavioral factors interact in complex pathogeneses and multiple pathways leading to PTB. The March of Dimes Scientific Advisory Committee created this prioritized research agenda, which is aimed at garnering serious attention and expanding resources to make major inroads into the prevention of PTB, targeting six major, overlapping categories: epidemiology, genetics, disparities, inflammation, biologic stress, and clinical trials. Analogous to other common, complex disorders, progress in prevention will require incorporating multipronged risk reduction strategies that are based on sound scientific discovery, as well as on effective translation into clinical care.