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March of Dimes President Dr. Jennifer L. Howse Wins Prestigious Humanitarian Award

White Plains, New York, Wednesday, March 03, 2010

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The nation’s champion for babies today received the 2010 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian Award.

Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, who has served as president of the March of Dimes since 1990, was honored March 2 by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NIFD) at a ceremony at the Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner, Va.

“Dr. Howse has been at the forefront of a national effort to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality,” said George C. Hill, PhD, president of the NFID. “Under her leadership, the March of Dimes influence can be seen daily in hospitals across the country.”

During Dr. Howse’s tenure, the March of Dimes launched its national Prematurity Campaign in 2003, successfully influenced state policies nationwide to expand newborn screening programs that detect certain life-threatening but treatable disorders at birth, and led the national campaign that resulted in the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of fortification of grains and cereals with folic acid to prevent neural tube defects —birth defects of the brain and spine.

“I’m honored to be recognized by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. Together with our volunteers, we have been able to make a difference in the lives of infants,” said Dr. Howse. “But our work is far from complete – we continue the fight to make health care accessible to all pregnant women so every baby will have a chance to get a healthy start in life.”

The March of Dimes has been one of the best-known and well-respected health charities in the world. Dr. Howse’s dedication, along with that of the organization’s 1,400 staff and three million volunteers, has helped position the March of Dimes as the ultimate champion for babies.

Dr. Howse earned her doctorate degree in psycholinguistics from Florida State University. She has served as an advisor to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health and Human Services Secretary’s National Commission on Infant Mortality. Before joining the March of Dimes, she held a number of top positions at health-related organizations, including State Commissioner for Mental Retardation in Pennsylvania and Associate Commissioner for Mental Retardation in New York State. Dr. Howse is an honorary fellow of both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In 2002, she won the CDC’s Distinguished Service Award, and in 2005, Dr. Howse received the Stanley Graven Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Perinatal Association.

The Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Award for Humanitarian Contributions was established in 1997. In addition to President and Mrs. Carter, previous recipients include former President Bill Clinton, Dr. Louis Sullivan, Bill and Melinda Gates, Ted Turner and General Colin Powell.

About the March of Dimes
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies®, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. March for Babies is sponsored nationally by the March of Dimes number one corporate supporter Kmart, Farmers Insurance Group, CIGNA, Continental Airlines, Famous Footwear, FedEx, Sanofi Pasteur, First Response and Mission Pharmacal.

For the latest resources and health information, visit our websites marchofdimes.org and nacersano.org. If you have been affected by prematurity or birth defects, visit our shareyourstory.org community to find comfort and support. For detailed national, state and local perinatal statistics, visit persistats.org. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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