March of Dimes Congratulates Youth Leader Honored By USA Today

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., JUNE 9, 2010 -- Neha Deshpande, the 2009-2010 chair of the March of Dimes National Youth Council, is one of 20 college students selected by USA Today for its annual All-USA College Academic First Team. Neha has served as a member of the Youth Council and for many years as a volunteer in her home communities in New Jersey and Maryland. She graduated this year from Johns Hopkins University with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a minor in French cultural studies, was named a 2010 Truman Scholar, and will take part in the yearlong Truman-Albright Fellows Program before attending medical school.

Neha has demonstrated a passionate commitment to the health of moms and babies. She participated in a hands-on clinical neonatology practicum at the Johns Hopkins Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Labor & Delivery Suite. As a Woodrow Wilson Research Fellow, her research project was "An Epidemiological Assessment of Neonatal and Maternal Health and Mortality in Urban Slums in Belgaum City, India and Statistical Comparison to Baltimore, MD, USA," which took her to India to conduct research. She spoke about the power of youth in global public health at the 4th International Birth Defects and Disabilities Conference in the Developing World in October 2009. In high school, Neha helped organize a multicultural event in her community called “Rangeela” (Festival of Colors) that raised over $150,000 for March of Dimes programs of research, education, community service, and advocacy.

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