June 27, 2022

March of Dimes, the leading nonprofit fighting for the health of all moms and babies, has awarded its 2022 March of Dimes Graduate Nursing Scholarship Awards to four exceptional nurses for post-graduate and doctoral studies in the field of maternal-child nursing. The award recognizes and promotes excellence in nursing and furthers the organization’s commitment to ensuring moms and babies receive the highest quality of medical care. The nurses will each receive a $5,000 scholarship supported this year by Pampers®, a March of Dimes partner for more than 25 years.

“Even before the onset of the COVID pandemic, the U.S. was among the most dangerous developed nations for a woman to give birth,” said Stacey D. Stewart, President and CEO of March of Dimes. “The pandemic has further strained our health care system, while exacerbating the maternal and infant health crisis, creating greater need for nurses across our country. We are pleased to invest in furthering the careers of these exceptional nurses who are dedicated to improving health outcomes for all moms and babies.”

“At Pampers, we’re committed to addressing inequities in maternal healthcare. We’re pleased to continue supporting nurses who are dedicated to raising the quality of care and ensuring all moms and babies are supported, regardless of race,” said Marty Vanderstelt, father of two and Senior Vice President, North America Baby Care, P&G. “We value March of Dimes’ scholarships, education and resources that aid nurses in providing equitable care so all moms can experience the full joy of pregnancy and beyond.”

The 2022 March of Dimes Graduate Nursing Scholarship Award recipients are:

Abby Britt, RN, MSN, APRN-CNM, MA Public Anthropology, a PhD Nursing Student at Emory University
“My career goals include continuing my clinical practice as a nurse-midwife in a large public health system, teaching midwifery students, continuing my involvement with legislative advocacy to improve health equity, and pursuing research on the interrelated nature of systemic racism, trauma, and perinatal disparities and the impact of trauma informed respectful perinatal care. I believe in the combination of clinical practice, teaching, research, and policy/legislative advocacy to create larger change in systems to reduce health disparities and promote health equity. These career goals align with the mission of March of Dimes to promote the health of birthing people and babies and reduce disparities in perinatal outcomes.”

Nicole Cistone, MSN, RNC-NIC, a PhD Nursing Student at Ohio State University
“I have been a dedicated NICU Nurse for 11 years.  The varied nurse caregiving practices I encountered unfolded my concern about the effects of early life stress experienced by preterm infants and their neurodevelopment.  Building from my previous work, my dissertation study focuses on modifiable factors that may affect the neurodevelopment of preterm infants including biological stress responses and disrupted sleep.  My work aimed at improving the health and outcomes of preterm infants through research, advocacy, and education, which aligns closely with the March of Dimes mission.  My research will enhance our knowledge of the best nurse caregiving practices in the NICU to support healthy development and decrease infant morbidities to support a long, healthy life for preterm infants and their families.”

Karen Faulk, PhD, BSN, LCCE, CD (DONA), a DNP Nurse Midwifery Student at University of Pittsburgh
“My goal is to work as a practitioner, educator, and advocate within the field of maternal-child health, as a DNP-prepared Certified Nurse Midwife. In my professional roles as anthropologist, doula, childbirth educator, and nurse, I have sought to embrace an ethics of care. I believe that providing holistic and respectful care can have a significant impact on a family’s well-being for years to come. The midwifery model of care recognizes the transformative potential of the birthing experience and respects the birthing person’s autonomy in traversing her/his/their path through the process while providing safe and informed guidance. As a midwife my aim will be to work continuously and in close collaboration with community partners to improve health equity and decrease health disparities through expanding midwifery services to an ever-broader swath of the population.”

Jenna Wheeler, BNS, RN, CBC, a PhD Nursing Student at University of Central Florida
“My long-term career goal is to study epigenetics among mother-father-infant triads and develop interventions that will improve birth and health outcomes among Black and ethnic families. This is the reason I chose to pursue a Nursing PhD – to contribute my passion and commitment to eliminate health disparities through a lifelong research career dedicated to serving others. Florida is currently rated on the March of Dimes Report Card D+ for preterm birth; my goal aligns with the March of Dime’s mission to fight preterm birth and improve maternal health outcomes through research, innovation, and advocacy.”

Established in 1998, the March of Dimes Graduate Nursing Scholarships are awarded each year to the highest scoring graduate nursing scholarship applicants. Qualified applicants for the March of Dimes Graduate Nursing Scholarships are registered nurses currently enrolled in a graduate program in maternal-child nursing at the master’s or doctoral level. Applicants are encouraged to be a member of the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM), the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), or the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN). Applications for the 2023 scholarships will be available in September 2022 on the March of Dimes website,