March of Dimes chapter staff and volunteers invest time and resources in local programs and activities in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, playing a vital role in improving maternal and child health in their communities. As respected leaders in the field of maternal and child health, the March of Dimes is uniquely positioned to partner with local and state public and private health care systems and organizations to enhance and expand the services available to women and their families.
Chapter staff and volunteers partner with local health agencies, community-based organizations, professional associations, hospitals and others to determine the most pressing maternal and child health needs and to develop a multiyear strategic plan that will positively impact the health status of communities. Staff and volunteers then work to enhance and expand community services, and to improve systems of care for mothers, babies and their families through leadership, educational programs and community grants.
Through its work in communities, the March of Dimes aims to improve the health of mothers and babies through: education on healthy pregnancy; prenatal care and other services to reduce the risk of premature birth and other poor birth outcomes; and support for families whose babies need specialized care in the NICU.
Addressing health inequities
Significant racial and ethnic disparities persist in rates of preterm birth, low birthweight and infant mortality for babies born in the United States. The March of Dimes is deeply concerned about the impact these gaps in birth outcomes are having on the health and well-being of babies, families and society as a whole. March of Dimes chapters continue to focus efforts on addressing disparities and improving equity in their communities with programs focused on specific populations, including African-American, Hispanic, Asian-Pacific Islander and Native American.
In 2014, 25 chapters identified the elimination of racial and ethnic disparities in birth outcomes as one of their top mission priorities. In addition, chapters provided almost $2.5 million in funding for local programs that were designed to address the needs of specific racial and ethnic groups. This represents nearly half (48.6%) of all chapter-funded program initiatives.
104 programs addressing African-American health disparities received nearly $1.2 million in funding.
March of Dimes Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait
Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait is a comprehensive initiative of the Foundation’s Prematurity Campaign that includes:
• An education and awareness campaign across the United States that aims to reduce early, nonmedically-dictated (elective) labor inductions and cesarean deliveries
• Hospital-based quality improvement programs that support and recognize best practices related to the reduction of early elective deliveries
• An intensive community program in 25 sites focused on prematurity prevention that integrates clinical and public health approaches