Progressing from Discovery Science to Translational Science
Our six Prematurity Research Centers (PRCs) in 2019 have entered the next phase of research to explore premature birth and serious maternal health problems. Moving from discovery science in the lab to translational science primes the PRCs to work on actionable projects that can progress to clinical trials. The PRCs foundational work still remains critical in creating a pipeline of ideas and approaches. This new phase will bring real world solutions to millions of moms and babies in 2020 and beyond.
Landmark research to change the way prematurity can be prevented
Research this year at our Prematurity Research Center Washington University in St. Louis explored electromyometrial imaging (EMMI) to “see” contractions as they happen. This exciting development helps us understand the nature of contractions—why they start when they do, and how to stop them if they come too early in a pregnancy. Research like this takes us closer to developing lifesaving solutions so more moms can have healthy pregnancies.
Working to solve challenges facing new parents and their families
The March of Dimes Center for Social Science Research investigates the relationship between social and environmental factors, economic and employer policies, and pregnancy in the U.S., and identifying policy and program solutions that increase equity and improve health outcomes for moms and babies. In one of its biggest communications milestones of the year, the Center featured the results of research by Dr. Norman Waitzman from the University of Utah, which highlighted the estimated average cost of premature birth by state. This data was added as a new feature in the 2019 March of Dimes Report Card, released November 4, during Prematurity Awareness Month, to provide a more comprehensive view of the collective factors that contribute to maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, and serve to elevate awareness of the serious health crisis that moms and babies face.
Speaking out for moms and babies everywhere
On behalf of families, we advocated on behalf of, against or monitored more than 150 state legislative bills throughout 2019 to promote the health of women, babies and families. We also came together to advocate for nationwide change, including helping to get the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act of 2019 passed through the House of Representatives to ensure the 4 million babies born each year continue to be screened for life-threatening problems.
Putting equity front and center
In July, the March of Dimes’ Prematurity Collaborative held Equity in Action: Moving from Theory to Practice, a training event supported by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The event harnessed the unique expertise of a wide array of organizations to create solutions and drive improvements in premature birth and equity. With 480-member organizations and more than 700 individual members, the Collaborative focused throughout the year on collective action and shared strategy and metrics with the aim to prevent prematurity and achieve health equity.
Empowering pregnant women to be actively engaged in their health care
We’re laying the foundation for better lifelong health by expanding Supportive Pregnancy Care, a group prenatal care program proven to improve pregnancy care and reduce women’s risk of premature birth. In 2019, we raised more than $1 million to launch SPC in 37 sites across 19 states so more women will get the support services they need and fewer babies will be born too soon.
High-profile voices supporting healthy moms and strong babies
This year March of Dimes announced the new Celebrity Advocate Council to amplify the voices of thousands of families impacted by pregnancy complications each year. The first advocates named to the Council are Ally Brooke, Nick Lachey, Porsha Williams and Tatyana Ali. By using their platforms to share their own personal experiences, they’re raising awareness of mom and baby issues that aren’t being talked about enough.
Our new campaign features real-life stories of those affected
Marking World Prematurity Day on November 17, March of Dimes launched the multi-platform #ItsNotFine campaign to call attention to the worsening maternal and infant health crisis. “It’s not fine” challenges women to not accept the statement “You’ll be fine” before and after pregnancy, and to know that March of Dimes is here to support them and their families with programs, research and ongoing advocacy efforts.