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March of Dimes and CISCO – Partnering to improve the health of all moms and babies.

For more than 20 years, CISCO has been a trusted March of Dimes partner. 

Through sponsorship, employee giving, March for Babies, and golf fundraisers, CISCO has raised more than $6 million to support March of Dimes goal to end preventable maternal health risks and death, end preventable preterm birth, and close the health equity gap for every family.

March of Dimes is thrilled to be featured in Cisco Stories - Cisco's collection of human-centered stories that highlight how Cisco technology helps make the world more connected, inclusive, sustainable, and secure.

In this March of Dimes and Cisco partnership video Cisco employee Iaishia Smith shares her story of loss and how she is advocating for moms and babies with the support of her colleagues.

"An inclusive future for all must include inclusive healthcare for all. March of Dimes is working to make this is a reality, helping to close the health equity gap by ensuring quality healthcare for families everywhere. In our 20+ year partnership, Cisco employees have volunteered and contributed $6.55M in the important fight to increase positive outcomes for all moms and babies, regardless of race, income, or geographic location. Cisco is proud to partner with March of Dimes in their live-saving work." - Francine Katsoudas, Executive Vice President and Chief People, Policy & Purpose Officer – Cisco

Use your voice to make change at the federal, state and local level to improve the health of all moms and babies.   
Become an advocate

Together we can help end preventable infant and maternal health risks and death, end preterm birth, and close the health equity gap for all families.   

Iaishia Smith and March of Dimes President Dr. Elizabeth Cherot at March of Dimes Headquarters

Iaishia Smith and March of Dimes President Dr. Elizabeth Cherot at March of Dimes Headquarters

Iaishia Smith’s Story

The health risk to pregnant moms and their babies is real. I know first-hand. During my first pregnancy, my husband I went to the doctor just two weeks before our daughter’s due date only to learn devastating news: she had no heartbeat. She passed on June 23, 2017.

Even more tragic (if there can be such a thing), her death was preventable.

During my pregnancy, I told my doctor about symptoms that were very concerning to me: swollen feet, extreme thirst, and exhaustion. My doctor dismissed these as normal pregnancy symptoms. In reality, I had all the signs and symptoms of gestational diabetes, a highly treatable condition if properly diagnosed.

It turns out I’m not alone.

Globally, a woman dies every 2 minutes from pregnancy-related complications, according to new research from the World Health Organization.

Close to home, the U.S. is among the most dangerous developed nations for childbirth. Maternal mortality across the country has increased 75% in the last 20 years. Women of color are 3-4 times more likely to die than white women.

And yet in the U.S. 80% of maternal deaths are preventable. The biggest cause is access to affordable, high-quality obstetric care regardless of income, race, or where a woman lives.

The need is enormous. One-third of all U.S. counties are “maternity deserts”, meaning they have no maternity care resources such as hospitals or birth centers offering obstetric care, and no obstetric providers. More than 2 million women of childbearing age live in these deserts, and another 3 million women live in counties with limited access.

Support from Cisco was phenomenal

Amidst my personal tragedy, I was very fortunate to have Cisco as my employer. The benefits, for instance, helped me take the first few months off with paid maternity, so I didn’t have to worry about the financial impact surrounding such a tremendous loss. Cisco also provides mental health benefits, enabling me to go to counseling to help talk through my experience. Today, a few years later, I’m still involved in counseling because the work continues to be important to me.

And I can’t thank the people at Cisco enough for how they stepped up and supported me through the most difficult time in my life. Sara Morales personally helped me get my benefit claim submitted to make sure that I was put on maternity leave, paid, and had access to all my health benefits. She helped make the process seamless.

March of Dimes

After the death of my daughter, I learned about March of Dimes. The organization is leading the fight to end preventable maternal risks and deaths, end preterm birth and infant death, and close the health equity gap. March of Dimes works to increase access to quality healthcare, fund medical research for cures and treatments, support new families with resources, advocate for policy changes, and educate healthcare workers to overcome implicit bias.

I’m proud to be a March of Dime’s volunteer, committee member, and employee of a company that also believes in and supports March of Dimes. In fact, Cisco has partnered with the organization for more than 20 years. The Cisco March of Dimes 2023 fundraising campaign has launched, and you can join the effort to save moms and babies by taking these simple steps:

  1. Join the Cisco social media challenge. Simply post a message supporting March of Dimes on your LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook account and tag Cisco (@Cisco) and use the hashtag #ciscomarchofdimes. Cisco will donate $5 to March of Dimes. Learn more and get helpful images and resources here.
  2. Join a March of Dimes walk. It’s a great way to gather friends and work colleagues to raise money and support the cause. Cisco is sponsoring the RTP March of Dimes walk on April 15. You can sign up here.

With all the medicines and research that March of Dimes has funded through the decades and their recent work to combat bias in healthcare professionals, it’s quite possible that your family has also been touched by their efforts and you might not even know it. Now is your chance to join Cisco, March of Dimes, and me to ensure families get the best possible start, no matter who they are or where they live.