July 15, 2021

March of Dimes, the leading nonprofit fighting for the health of all moms and babies, has awarded its 2021 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.

“The U.S. is facing an ongoing maternal and infant health crisis and in 2021 we are still among the most dangerous developed nations for a woman to give birth,” said Stacey D. Stewart, President and CEO of March of Dimes. “We’re pleased to honor these heroic nurses, who are at the frontlines of this crisis and are working every day to ensure that every mom and baby, regardless of race, gender, geography or wealth, gets the best possible start.”

“At Pampers, caring for the happy, healthy development of all babies is at the core of who we are. We're pleased to continue supporting nurses and the important role they play in ensuring babies' bright beginnings,” says Marty Vanderstelt, father of two and Senior Vice President – North America Baby Care. “We value March of Dimes' research and resources that aid nurses in providing for the healthy recovery for postpartum moms and their newborn’s overall development.”

The 2021 March of Dimes Graduate Nursing Scholarship Award recipients are:

Heather Bradford, MSN, CNM, of Kirkland, WA, a PhD Student at Vanderbilt University, TN
“In addition to continuing to practice full-scope midwifery, my career goal is to become a leading maternal-child health researcher as a tenure-track faculty member at a research-focused nursing institution. I would like to use this platform to continue to grow the midwifery workforce as an educator. I also aim to continue to explore my program of research describing birth attendants’ weight bias toward laboring patients with higher body weights, and its influence on clinical decision-making and labor and delivery outcomes. In addition, I hope to develop evidence-based intrapartum guidelines for pregnant patients with higher body weights to optimize their birth experiences and labor and delivery outcomes.”

Illiyah Edwards, RN, of Durham, NC, a MSN/ WHNP Student at Duke University, NC
“My journey to becoming a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner is not a linear one, but I am certain that my passion and interest in the holistic care of women begins with the relationship that I have with my mother. Growing up with a single mother, and witnessing her superwoman complex, was the start of my desire to change the health stigmatizations in the African American community. By the age of 10, I had already conducted cardiac research and by the following year, my mother experienced a stroke after giving birth to my sister. It was then that I decided that I would accomplish everything necessary to be a change agent for women, African Americans, and low-income families.”

Melicia Escobar, MSN, CNM, WHNP-BC, of Philadelphia, PA, a DNP Student at Georgetown University, DC
“My career goals involve building on the health equity work that I started in our program and applying those lessons to broader contexts within midwifery, nursing, and other professions at a systems level. Providers require skills that allow them to care for people holistically and mitigate barriers that impede vulnerable populations from receiving optimal care. March of Dimes has been committed to targeted prevention in the service of pregnant people and their babies for years, collaborating with healthcare providers, researchers, and advocates to make remarkable and lasting change. With racism emerging as a root cause of maternal mortality and morbidity and neonatal mortality, I see March of Dimes’ work to improve health equity as a powerful vehicle for improving the healthcare landscape.”

Amy Goh, MSN, WHNP, CNM, of West Roxbury, MA, a PhD Student at Boston College, MA
“My ultimate goal is to positively impact perinatal care in several ways. First, I envision becoming an expert on how digital health tools can help improve patient-provider communication, specifically with pregnant people of color and to use my research to advocate for inclusive digital health tools for them. Second, I would like to practice as a midwife and conduct research on racially and culturally concordant care. Third, I am passionate about diversifying the midwifery workforce and desire to establish a school of midwifery comprised of students and faculty that will look very much like the community where it stands. Ideally this school will be largely funded by the state with the goal of improving perinatal outcomes by increasing the number of midwives that can provide racially and culturally concordant care.”

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 2022 scholarships will be available in September 2021 on the March of Dimes website,

Christine Sanchez (571-257-2307)
[email protected]