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March of Dimes Announces Nursing Scholarship Recipients

Four Outstanding Nurses Recognized for their Dedication to Maternal and Infant Health

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., May 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Four exceptional registered nurses have been awarded scholarships from the March of Dimes for graduate studies in the field of maternal-child nursing, it was announced today.

"The nursing profession has played a key role in the history and mission success of the March of Dimes dating back to our founding in 1938. Through these scholarships, we hope to demonstrate our continued appreciation.," said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse,, President of the March of Dimes. "Choosing the recipients was especially challenging because the pool of applicants becomes stronger each year. Once again, we are proud to support these four nurse scholars as they continue their tireless work towards improving maternal and infant health.

March of Dimes support for nursing education originated during the earliest years of the foundation with grants for public health nursing to fight polio. Recognizing the link between continuing education and improved care of mothers and babies, the March of Dimes developed a series of continuing education courses to train nurses in the latest scientific and clinical advances. The current March of Dimes annual Graduate Nursing Scholarship, founded in 1997, represents March of Dimes ongoing commitment to assist registered nurses. Each recipient receives $5,000 to continue their graduate maternal-child nursing studies. The number of scholarships awarded swelled to eight in 2008.

The 2009 scholarship recipients are:

MaryJane Lewitt, RN, CNM, MN, of Atlanta, Georgia, who is pursuing a doctorate in nursing at Emory University. Ms. Lewitt has worked in several maternal-child health settings, including operating a solo nurse-midwifery practice. In 2000, she received the prestigious Kitty Ernst Award, a national honor from the American College of Nurse-Midwives for outstanding achievement by nurse-midwives with less than 10 years of experience. Her doctoral work examines how nurse-midwives in the U.S. are using the World Health Organization's evidence-based practice recommendations and the effect their values and beliefs have on patient care.

Priscilla M. Nodine, CNM, MS, of Lakewood, Colorado, who is pursing a doctorate in nursing at the University of Colorado Denver. Ms. Nodine's introduction to maternal-child health came when she was a Peace Corps volunteer at an open-air hospital in Africa. She has been a certified nurse midwife for more than 20 years, attending more than 1,000 births. She recently gave a presentation on her doctoral dissertation called: "Maternal Obesity: A Comprehensive Literature review of Risks and Management Strategies" at the Colorado Nurse-Midwives Symposium.

Ping Jin Porter, RN, BSN, SNM, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, who is pursuing a master's degree in nursing with a midwifery concentration at the University of New Mexico. When Ms. Jin came to the United States from China seven years ago, she spoke little English. She taught herself the language, attended nursing school, and graduated summa cum laude. Because of her personal experience, she understands the challenges immigrants face in maternal-child health settings. When she completes her degree, she plans to work with underserved populations, especially immigrants.

Lauren Thorngate, Ph(c), RN, CCRN, of Seattle, Washington, who is pursuing a doctorate in nursing at the University of Washington. Ms. Thorngate is a neonatal clinical nurse specialist at the University of Washington Medical Center. She is a charter member of the Pacific Northwest Association of Neonatal Nurses and has served in several leadership roles. Currently, she is researching pain management practices in the neonatal intensive care setting, specifically how the use of opioids to reduce pain affects an infant's developing brain and central nervous system.

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 doctorate 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 2010 scholarships will be available this fall on the March of Dimes Web site at, or by calling the March of Dimes at (914) 997-4609. Applications are due January 15, 2010.

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 information, visit or

SOURCE March of Dimes
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