May 21, 2019

March of Dimes, the leading nonprofit for the health of moms and babies, has awarded its 2019 March of Dimes Graduate Nursing Scholarships to three exceptional nurses for post-graduate and doctoral studies in the field of maternal-child nursing. The announcement was made today at the Annual Meeting of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM).

“Congratulations to these remarkable nurses for their outstanding commitment to the health of moms and babies in their communities,” says Stacey D. Stewart, President and CEO of March of Dimes. “March of Dimes is proud to help these nurses continue their education at this important stage of their careers. With our graduate nursing scholarships, we also help ensure that more moms and babies around the nation will get the highest quality care.”


Noelene Jeffers of Washington, DC, is a registered nurse and certified nurse midwife and is currently a Robert Wood Johnson Future of Nursing Scholar at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing in Baltimore, Maryland. Ms. Jeffers has worked in underserved communities in the DC area for many years. Her goal is to become a nurse-midwife scientist who utilizes research to understand the multifaceted nature of maternal and infant health disparities found in communities of color in the United States and improve them. Ms. Jeffers has received special designation as the recipient of the March of Dimes Margaret C. Freda Scholarship, established in 2016 to honor long-time March of Dimes National Nurse Advisory Council Chair Dr. Margaret Comerford Freda. This designation is given to the highest scoring scholarship applicant.


Emily Johnson of Lakeside, Arizona, is a registered nurse pursuing a Master of Science degree in nursing at the University of New Mexico, with a specialization in midwifery. Ms. Johnson served in the Peace Corp from 2011 to 2013, educating young women on health and advocating for women's rights. She has spent time as a perinatal doula for underserved women in the Baltimore area, and as a labor and delivery nurse and lactation consultant on the Navajo and Fort Apache Reservations. Through her work and studies, she has developed an understanding of how intergenerational trauma, poverty, unresolved grief, and other stressors that Native American communities have faced predisposes them to increased rates of prematurity and poorer health outcomes.


Heidi Young-Blackgoat of Flagstaff, Arizona, is a registered nurse pursuing a Master of Science degree in nursing at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, with specializations in midwifery and women’s health nurse practitioner. Ms. Young-Blackgoat has a vast range of experience with patients and families in the maternal health spectrum. She has provided care for babies in the NICU affected by maternal prenatal substance use. She has also worked extensively with vulnerable populations such as teens and immigrants for whom English is not their first language. Most recently, she has focused on addressing the poor morbidity and mortality rates among women of color, including women in indigenous communities, by providing respectful and culturally-appropriate care.

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 must be a member of the ACNM, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWONN), or the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN). Applications for the 2020 scholarships will be available in September 2019 on the March of Dimes website,