Outstanding Nurses Dedicated to Mom and Baby Health Recognized by March of Dimes

August 8, 2018

Four exceptional nurses have been awarded 2018 March of Dimes Graduate Nursing Scholarships for post-graduate and doctoral studies in the field of maternal-child nursing.

“We congratulate these nurses for their dedication to improving the health of moms and babies in their communities,” says Stacey D. Stewart, President of March of Dimes. “March of Dimes is proud to help these nurses continue their education at this critical stage of their careers. By doing so, we also help ensure that more moms and babies throughout the country get the best possible care.”


Isabel Brewster of Canterbury, New Hampshire, is a registered nurse pursuing a master of science degree in nursing at Frontier Nursing University in Hyden, Kentucky, with a specialization in midwifery. After graduation, she plans to focus on preconception and perinatal care in a clinical setting that provides care for women with substance use disorders. New Hampshire has one of the highest rates of opioid use in the United States, and opioid use in pregnancy is associated with significant health problems for women and their infants, including premature birth and neonatal abstinence syndrome. Ms. Brewster has experience in volunteering with this population and understands the special needs of at-risk pregnant women and babies.


Kristin DeArruda Wharton of Grand Marais, Minnesota, is a registered nurse pursuing a master of science in nursing at Frontier Nursing University in Hyden, Kentucky, to become a family nurse practitioner. She is committed to improving maternal-child health in rural communities in northeastern Minnesota as well as throughout the United States. Ms. DeArruda Wharton has identified some of the challenges and risk factors facing rural women and their babies. For example, preterm birth rates and other poor health outcomes are disproportionately high in rural communities in the U.S. Family nurse practitioners play a crucial role in rural American communities that often have a shortage of primary care providers. Ms. DeArruda Wharton was given the special designation as the March of Dimes Margaret C. Freda Scholarship Recipient as the highest-scoring applicant in 2018.


Natima Geis of Lexington, Kentucky, is a registered nurse pursuing a master of science in nursing at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in Nashville, Tennessee, with a specialization in midwifery. Ms. Geis also is deeply committed to serving her rural community, particularly its underserved and disenfranchised populations. She has demonstrated a keen understanding of the importance of continuity of care for women and babies over the course of pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum and infant care. Ms. Geis is a volunteer doula, and has clinical experience in caring for mothers and babies during labor and delivery as well as in the hospital newborn intensive care (NICU) unit.


Marliese Nist of Galena, Ohio, is a registered nurse pursuing a PhD in nursing at The Ohio State University School of Nursing. Her research focus is on the neurodevelopment of very preterm babies. As a NICU nurse, Ms. Nist has had first-hand experience of the NICU environment, and is concerned about how the extreme stress experienced by babies during hospitalization may affect their developing brains. She seeks to determine the relationships among stress exposure, inflammation, and neurodevelopment in the hope of identifying ways to improve the care of these infants. She has a demonstrated track record of scholarship with numerous publications and presentations.

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 American College of Nurse-Midwives, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, or the National Association of Neonatal Nurses. Applications for the 2019 scholarships will be available in September 2018 on the March of Dimes website, marchofdimes.org.

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