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Ted Kennedy: A Champion for Children and Public Health

Washington D.C., Thursday, August 27, 2009

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The March of Dimes joins the nation in celebrating the life and mourning the passing of Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) who died late Tuesday night.

As one of the longest-serving and most experienced committee Chairmen in the U.S. Senate, Ted Kennedy was a champion for children and their families and a key ally of the March of Dimes. His leadership and vision in public health legislation is nearly unquantifiable; however, among his most significant roles are:

  • Principal author of the 1997 legislation creating the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
  • Sponsor of the “Birth Defects Prevention Act of 1998,” as well as the “Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities Prevention Act of 2003” which authorized the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to collect, analyze, and make available data on birth defects; operate regional centers for applied epidemiologic research on the prevention of birth defects; and inform and educate the public about the prevention of birth defects.
  • Author of the “Children’s Health Act of 2000,” which created the Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at CDC, established the CDC folic acid education program and created a freestanding newborn screening program.
  • Author of the legislation codifying the “Pediatric Rule,” which requires companies to provide Food and Drug Administration evidence that they have conducted research on the effect of drugs used in treating pediatric patients.
  • Sponsor of the 2008 Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act, which authorizes additional federal funding to support state efforts to improve newborn screening programs, to acquire innovative testing technologies, and to increase capacity to reach and educate health professionals and parents on newborn screening programs and follow-up services 

The March of Dimes honored the Senator's work presenting him with the March of Dimes Franklin Delano Roosevelt Award in 2001. He also twice received the March of Dimes Public Affairs Leadership Award in 2003 and 2007. This award recognizes outstanding leadership by Members of Congress and the Executive Branch in the fields of maternal and child health and not-for-profit public policy.

About March of Dimes
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

For the latest resources and health information, visit our websites marchofdimes.org and nacersano.org. To participate in our annual signature fundraising event, visit marchforbabies.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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