Supporting communities during the global health emergency
March of Dimes took a leading role to protect the health of families during the COVID-19 pandemic. We hosted 19 Healthy Moms Strong Babies webinars reaching more than 1.4M people, with more than 550K views to help families cope with the pandemic. We also provided critical medical supplies to health care workers and information to families, including:
- 5,292+ meals for frontline workers and NICU families
- 5,620+ masks
- 80+ tablets delivered to hospital partners
- 225 breast pumps
- 2,133+ NICU bags with essential supplies
- 450+ blood pressure cuffs distributed to at-risk women
Helping all families get through a most difficult time
We reached more than 50K families in 2020 through our NICU initiatives, including the NICU Family Support® program and the My NICU Baby® App. In response to COVID-19, we launched the NICU Online Education Series nationwide to support all families and answer questions with NICU clinical staff. These HIPAA compliant Zoom accounts enabled all of our sites to work with families virtually, and also enabled our Program Coordinators to meet with families that aren’t able to be present in the NICU.
Bringing critical services to pregnant people where there’s a lack of maternity care
Throughout 2020, March of Dimes mobile health units provided 2,000 patient visits. These buses in 5 communities, such as Arizona, Ohio and Washington, D.C., helped uninsured and under-insured women of childbearing age receive quality health care for themselves and their babies. Services include pregnancy testing, care coordination and social support services, and all are free of charge.
Refocusing to actively engage parents-to-be in their health care
Better lifelong health begins with Supportive Pregnancy Care (SPC), a group prenatal care program proven to improve pregnancy care and reduce women’s risk of preterm birth. In 2020, SPC sites hosted group sessions for 253 pregnant individuals. During the initial wave of COVID-19 infections, March of Dimes created Supportive Pregnancy Virtual Groups (SPVG) to provide social support and education to expecting individuals in a safe, virtual space. Including repeat attendees, we hosted 209 pregnant individuals for SPVG sessions.
Stepping up to raise funds for families in need
Moms can’t wait, babies can’t wait. Pregnancy can’t pause. That’s why families in communities all across the country needed us to find a way to come together for them. In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic and to address restrictions on in-person gatherings, we pivoted our largest annual fundraising event to be virtual with the March for Babies Step Up! campaign. In 114 markets across the U.S., 70K individuals, companies and teams rallied to raise more than $25M to help ensure that every mom and baby is healthy and strong during this difficult time.
Equipping moms to be their own best advocates
In 2020 March of Dimes launched a new consumer engagement platform—It Starts With Mom—that raised awareness and funds for the organization and provided women with health and wellness resources for every stage of motherhood to empower them to have the best possible start. It reached 1.5M viewers through March of Dimes digital channels during the campaign period. Our virtual keynote event on May 7—It Starts With Mom Live—was hosted by Jessica Alba, actress and Founder of The Honest Company, and received 206K live stream views, 170K social engagements and reached more than 95M media impressions, including features in publications that include Parents, Forbes, BabyGaga, Parade, ABC News Radio and Latin Times.
ItStartsWithMom.org offered moms pregnancy health resources with more than 45K website views. And throughout the fall, a series of live events were held online, featuring more than 80 corporate leaders, health care professionals and new veteran moms serving as speakers, including Allyson Felix, Most Decorated Track and Field Olympian; Fidji Simo, VP & Head of Facebook App; and Senator Tammy Duckworth.
Along with The Honest Company, notable sponsors of the campaign included Macy’s, NUK and Cisco with media partners Parents and Romper.
Investing in research to solve unmet needs and gaps in maternal and infant health
Our research to counter preterm birth and maternal health issues never stopped in 2020. We conducted two clinical trials—one for a microbiome supplement to prevent inflammation that leads to preterm birth and another for validation of micro-RNA molecules as a diagnostic biomarker in the development of a point-of-care test for preterm birth. Other highlights include a multi-omics map of the placenta for prediction of pregnancy health; computational biology for drug repurposing into therapeutics for preterm birth; machine learning challenges for prediction of gestational age; and multi-omics mapping of the immune system during pregnancy for prediction of preterm birth and preeclampsia. All of this incredible research will lead to finding solutions to improve the health of moms and babies.
We also recognized excellence with three Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Awards, two Fellowships, The Prize in Developmental Biology Award and The Agnes Higgins Award in Maternal-Fetal Nutrition. And we set the stage for the next great innovations by distributing two COVID-19 grants, five Clinical and Social Science grants, six Innovative Challenge grants and three Novel Discovery grants.
In addition, our March of Dimes-funded research generated 70+ peer-reviewed publications on maternal and infant health.
Identifying and remedying implicit bias and educating health care providers
March of Dimes offers a range of educational opportunities for health care professionals, including Implicit Bias Training. In addition to training more than 8,200 providers through our e-learning tool, we launched 13 live sessions in 2020 to educate them on the impact systemic racism has on birth outcomes and maternal mortality and the critical role they play to lessen the effects of bias, particularly for families of color. We also provided continuing education to an additional 3,500+ nurses, as well as offering website resources, nursing modules, genetics education resources and more.
Prioritizing mom and baby health across the country
For families everywhere, we advocated on behalf of, against or monitored more than 150 state legislative bills throughout 2020 to improve health equity for all moms and babies and ensure that every family is healthy. Among the highlights are March of Dimes Georgia celebrating the passage of HB 1114, which extends postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 6 months. About a dozen additional states proposed Medicaid waivers, financial estimates or other initiatives designed to extend coverage during the postpartum period. We utilized the pandemic to promote advocacy efforts for paid family/sick leave. While a handful of states temporarily broadened access to paid sick leave, New York and Colorado enacted permanent sick leave laws.
We also elevated our mission and advocacy work through major media campaigns around vaccines, #BlanketChange and our March of Dimes Report Card and Nowhere to Go: Maternity Care Deserts Across the U.S. report; and through conferences such as Vaccine Press Conferences in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey; the Arizona State of Maternal Health Press Conference; the New York Press Conference with Better Balance on Pregnancy Accommodations; and Kentucky virtual press conference held on paid leave.
Taking action to create positive change for moms and babies everywhere
March of Dimes demanded #BlanketChange in honor of the 700 women who die each year from childbirth or pregnancy-related causes by calling on policymakers to prioritize our nation’s moms and babies and take immediate action to improve their health. While events did not happen as planned or were cancelled all together due to COVID, we were able to exceed the growth number in advocates to pivot to a digital activation and promotion locally of #Blanketchange and our advocacy efforts. Thanks to you, 70 corporate, nonprofit, advocacy and influencer partners:
- More than 2k new advocates signed on, adding to 6K from the start of the year
- 4,300 emails and 130 tweets to members of Congress
- Nearly 20M people were reached through social posts
- 14K people visited BlanketChange.org
Engaging prominent people to improve the maternal and infant health crisis
Through our advocacy efforts, we increased awareness of our mission utilizing our Celebrity Advocate Council members and their audiences. From Porsha Williams' Instagram Live with March of Dimes President and CEO Stacey D. Stewart on the Black Maternal Health Crisis, to Nick Lachey creating his own March for Babies team and encouraging his followers to participate, and Jessica Alba’s support of It Starts with Mom Live bringing more eyes to the organization, we were able to reach new audiences in creative and strategic ways, amounting to 41.6M total social media reach and 110+ total social media impressions.
Meeting the needs of a global pandemic and shining a light on health inequities
Amidst the nation struggling with racial justice and COVID-19, March of Dimes pivoted to meet the needs of families by publishing important reports that shed light on racial disparities in health care and establishing funds to raise critical money to improve mom and baby health.
- The Mom and Baby COVID-19 Intervention and Support Fund addressed the urgent need for research, advocacy, education, resources and support to protect moms, babies and families from COVID-19 and the unknown future effects of the virus.
- The March of Dimes Innovation Fund is a venture philanthropy initiative to accelerate the development of diagnostics and therapeutics that can solve the world’s most pressing maternal and infant health challenges, with a goal of raising $20M over 5 years.
- The 2020 March of Dimes Report Card was updated to provide a comprehensive view beyond grading states based on preterm birth rates to include infant death, inadequate prenatal care and disparity ratios information and important policy solutions.
- The Nowhere to Go: Maternity Care Deserts Across the U.S. report released in September found that 2.2M women live in maternity care deserts—counties with no hospitals offering obstetric care, and 7M women of childbearing age live in counties without access or with limited access to maternity care.
in 2020 you helped...
No one could’ve predicted the year that 2020 became. COVID-19 turned our lives upside down, but that didn’t stop you and March of Dimes from fighting for the health of all moms and babies.download the infographic