Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs Honors March of Dimes President

Dr. Jennifer L. Howse Recognized For Responsiveness to Needs of Women and Families

Washington, District of Columbia | Monday, February 14, 2011

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In recognition of her lifetime commitment to improving children’s health, Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes, was honored today with the 2011 Vince Hutchins Leadership Award for leadership in promoting a society responsive to the needs of women, children, youth and families.

The award was presented during the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) Annual Conference at Washington, DC. Immediately following the award ceremony, AMCHP held its annual March of Dimes Fitness Walk, a kick-off of its March for Babies fundraising effort to support the March of Dimes Maryland-National Capital Area Chapter.

The award is named in honor of Dr. Vince Hutchins, a life-long advocate for children’s health, who served 15 years as director of the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The award’s first recipient in 1998 was former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Other past recipients include: Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy, Peter Van Dyck, MD, MPH, Marian Wright Edelman, Senator Tom Harkin, and David Satcher MD, PhD.

“I’m honored to be included among such esteemed leaders,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “I thank AMCHP for recognizing the achievements of our volunteers and staff nationwide to improve the health of moms, babies, and families. I hope AMCHP members will help support reauthorization of the PREEMIE Act, federal legislation that would expand the scope of research to prevent and treat early births as we intend to fight for full funding through the Maternal and Child Health grant program under Title V of the Social Security Act.”

Dr. Howse was recognized for leading the March of Dimes work to expand newborn screening and raise awareness about the problem of preterm birth.

“Dr. Howse has spent a lifetime improving the quality of life for women and children. She has led the March of Dimes’ advocacy and education efforts to ensure that babies, regardless of where they are born, are screened for disorders can be treated to prevent death or health consequences like mental retardation. Also under her leadership, our nation has begun to see some success in reducing the number of babies born too soon,” said Michael Fraser, PhD, CEO, AMCHP.

Under Dr. Howse’s leadership, the March of Dimes has invested $450 million in research to improve infant health, helped to secure folic acid fortification of the grain and cereal supply, and advocated for improved access to health services for pregnant women and babies. Also, she launched a global program in the late 1990s which extends the mission of the March of Dimes throughout the world.

Dr. Howse earned her doctorate in psycholinguistics from Florida State University and has served as an advisor to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health and Human Services Secretary’s National Commission for Infant Mortality. Her recent awards include the 2011 Stanley and Mavis Graven Award for Leadership in Enhancing the Physical and Developmental Environments for the High-Risk Infant, the 2010 Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Humanitarian Award, and the 2010 National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) Woman of Excellence Award.

About March of Dimes

March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.

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