March of Dimes Memphis
HEALTHY MOMS. STRONG BABIES.
March of Dimes Memphis
The Mission of the March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality. The March of Dimes carries out this mission through programs of of research, community services, education and advocacy to save babies’ lives.
March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We believe that every baby deserves the best possible start. Unfortunately, not all babies get one. We are changing that.
For 80 years, March of Dimes has helped millions of babies survive and thrive. Now we’re building on that legacy to level the playing field for all moms and babies, no matter their age, socio-economic background or demographics. We support moms throughout their pregnancy, even when everything doesn’t go according to plan. We advocate for policies that prioritize their health. We support radical improvements to the care they receive. And we pioneer research to find solutions to the biggest health threats to moms and babies.
What began with President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s personal struggle with polio led to the creation of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, better known as March of Dimes. We pioneered the vaccine research leading to the eradication of polio in the U.S., and then we shifted focus to address some of the biggest health threats to moms and babies with innovations like folic acid, newborn screening and surfactant therapy.
Today we educate medical professionals and the public about best practices; we support lifesaving research; we provided comfort and support to families in NICUs; and we advocate for those who need us most, moms and babies. We are stronger and more committed than ever to guiding moms through every stage of the pregnancy journey. We are fighting for the smallest among us and advocating for their health each and every day. And we do so with the tools, technology and knowledge needed to build a brighter future for us all.
March of Dimes chapter staff and volunteers invest time and resources in local programs and activities in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, playing a vital role in improving maternal and child health in their communities. As respected leaders in the field of maternal and child health, the March of Dimes is uniquely positioned to partner with local and state public and private health care systems and organizations to enhance and expand the services available to women and their families.
Through its work in communities, the March of Dimes aims to improve the health of mothers and babies through: education on healthy pregnancy; prenatal care and other services to reduce the risk of premature birth and other poor birth outcomes; and support for families whose babies need specialized care in the NICU.
Addressing Health Inequities
Significant racial and ethnic disparities persist in rates of preterm birth, low birth-weight and infant mortality for babies born in the United States. The March of Dimes is deeply concerned about the impact these gaps in birth outcomes are having on the health and well-being of babies, families and society as a whole. March of Dimes chapters continue to focus efforts on addressing disparities and improving equity in their communities with programs focused on specific populations, including African-American, Hispanic, Asian-Pacific Islander and Native American.
In 2014, 25 chapters identified the elimination of racial and ethnic disparities in birth outcomes as one of their top mission priorities. In addition, chapters provided almost $2.5 million in funding for local programs that were designed to address the needs of specific racial and ethnic groups. This represents nearly half (48.6%) of all chapter-funded program initiatives.
104 programs addressing African-American health disparities received nearly $1.2 million in funding.
Enhanced Prenatal Care
Ensuring that women have access to prenatal care and services throughout their pregnancy is a vital role that the March of Dimes plays in communities. Whether bringing high-quality, evidence-based interventions and health care to underserved areas or striving for increased services for pregnant women to help them adopt healthy behaviors, March of Dimes staff and volunteers strategically focus resources and funding in the areas with the most need and potential for impact.
22 grants totaling more than $411,000 were awarded to address the issue of care coordination, including support for case managers, patient navigators and medical homes.
The largest overall investment in enhanced prenatal care is the ongoing support for the CenteringHealthcare Institute’s group prenatal care program, CenteringPregnancy®. This model combines three major components of care — health assessment, education and support — into a unified program within a group setting. Through March of Dimes support, more than 1,800 providers and nearly 24,000 women benefited from this model of care, proven to reduce the incidence of preterm birth. Throughout the year, 30 chapters provided 74 grants amounting to more than $1.1 million.
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