Four Outstanding Nurses Recognized in 2012 by the March of Dimes for Their Dedication to Maternal and Infant Health

White Plains, New York | Wednesday, July 25, 2012

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Four exceptional nurses have been awarded nursing scholarships by the March of Dimes for graduate studies in the field of maternal-child nursing.

These nurses work locally and internationally to improve maternal and infant health.

“The March of Dimes is committed to preventing premature births and birth defects here in the United States and globally. This year’s recipients have made extraordinary efforts to help underserved women and children, and we are proud to help them succeed and advance their nursing education,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “We hope these scholarships will help them achieve their goals of improving the health of mothers and babies.”

The March of Dimes Graduate Nursing Scholarship was founded in 1997 to recognize and promote excellence in the field of nursing care for mothers and babies. Recipients receive $5,000 to continue their graduate maternal-child nursing studies. The four scholarship winners for 2012 are:

  • Rachel Ballester, BA, RN, of Northampton, Massachusetts is seeking a master’s of science degree in nurse midwifery through the Baystate Midwifery Education Program in Springfield, MA. Ms. Ballester is a nurse at Holyoke Health Center, and has significant experience caring for women's health in Mexico. This spring, she is caring for incarcerated and immigrant women. She hopes to reduce maternal and infant death and disease among the world’s poorest people by working as a midwife and by promoting prenatal and community health education programs.
  • Michelle Dynes, CNM, MSN, MPH, of Atlanta, Georgia, a Fellow of Interdisciplinary Global Health Research at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, is pursuing a doctor of philosophy degree in nursing. Ms. Dynes’ dissertation focuses on the factors that encourage teamwork among community health workers in Ethiopia. She hopes her work will improve the quality of care for mothers and newborns in poor communities. Her volunteer work includes helping to start a Home Based Life Saving Skills program in Matlab, Bangladesh, a program designed to reduce maternal and newborn mortality in countries where women have limited access to skilled birth attendants and health facilities. Following graduation, Ms. Dynes plans to participate in a post-doctoral fellowship and create programs to ensure that adolescents and minority or refugee women in the United States and those in low socio-economic area have access to prenatal, birth, and postpartum care.
  • Julie Moon, RN, of Kodiak, Alaska is seeking a master’s of science degree in nursing from Frontier Nursing University with a specialization in nurse midwifery, and hopes to bring midwifery care to her small community. Ms. Moon is a registered nurse at Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center in Alaska and has 11 years of obstetrical nursing experience. As a teacher of childbirth education at the “A Balanced Approach Clinic,” a community clinic, she teaches the importance of healthy eating and exercise during pregnancy and the risks associated with elective inductions prior to 39 weeks. She hopes to bring Centering Pregnancy to her clients in the future, and to continue to help families learn how best to care for themselves during pregnancy and collaborate with their care providers for optimal health of mom and baby.
  • Njoki Ng’ang’a MPhil, MSc, RNC, of Hackensack, New Jersey is pursuing a doctor of philosophy degree at Columbia University School of Nursing. Ms. Ng’ang’a is a nurse at Hackensack University Medical Center. She has volunteered in underserved parts of the world including Niger, Vietnam and Rwanda, caring for women suffering from birth related traumas. In addition, Ms. Ng’ang’a is the only student to become a core member of the Center for Children and Families at Columbia. Her goal as a nurse is to influence decisions that drive health services for underserved women and children.

Qualified applicants for the March of Dimes graduate nursing scholarships are registered nurses currently enrolled in a graduate program in maternal-child nursing at the master’s or doctoral level. Applicants must be a member of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, or the National Association of Neonatal Nurses. Applications for the 2013 scholarships will be available this fall on the March of Dimes website at, or by calling the March of Dimes at (914) 997-4609. Applications are due January 15, 2013.

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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