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Seven Washington Organizations Receive Almost $126,000 Through March of Dimes Awards and Grants
Date:1/30/2009

SEATTLE, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A low-income woman receives vitamins to prevent birth defects of the brain and spine. A pregnant woman is educated on the link between periodontal disease and preterm and low birth weight deliveries and is then given the tools to improve her oral health. Asian- and Spanish-speaking women learn the signs of preterm labor.

These, and many more at-risk populations, are now being helped through local grants announced today by the March of Dimes. In all, seven organizations in Washington state received 2009 funds totaling $125,580. (See list of organizations below.)

"Our grants provide funds for grass-roots organizations that help women who are often unable to access the health care system or appropriate social services due to financial, language or other barriers," said Lisa Talbott, MPH, March of Dimes Program and Public Affairs Director. "We're grateful that our successful fundraising efforts, such as March for Babies, make it possible for us to support new community-based efforts to help more babies to be born healthy."

Helping Washington babies win

Last year in Washington state, 9,190 babies were born prematurely and each day, the March of Dimes was there to help them win. The March of Dimes carries out its mission of preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality through programs of research, community services, education and advocacy.

For example, in 2008, the March of Dimes successfully worked to add 15 additional disorders that are tested at birth. Washington state now screens for 27 conditions. All of these disorders have lifesaving treatments available which enable the baby to live a normal, healthy life. Through cutting edge research over the past three years, Washington Chapter of the March of Dimes invested $6,331,803 in research programs in Washington state at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle Children's Hospital, Swedish Medical Center and the University of Washington. In addition, from 2006 to 2008, the Washington Chapter allocated $570,579 to help thousands of Washington families get the support and direct services they need before and during pregnancy.

2009 Grant and Award Recipients

Community Awards

Klickitat County Health Department

The Klickitat County Health Department will encourage first trimester visits as well as provide education and vitamins to women of child bearing age and to those who are pregnant. The outreach will benefit 700-plus pregnant women and women of childbearing age. Funding: $2,000.

Community Grants

University of Washington

The University of Washington provides counseling and diagnostic services to women from all over Washington state who have delivered preterm infants to help reduce risk for a future preterm birth. The services will assist about 150 women who have delivered a baby at less than 34 weeks gestation. Funding: $46,054 (Second of multi-year grant for total of $93,010.)

Franciscan Health System in partnership with Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Franciscan Health System in partnership with Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. will implement a pilot Stork's Nest program in Pierce County. Stork's Nest is a community-based, prenatal health promotion program for low-income women that is designed to encourage prenatal care participation and healthy behaviors during pregnancy through incentives and education. The program will assist about 120 low-income women the first year. Funding: $20,594.

Family Planning of Clallam County

The Family Planning of Clallam County will provide folic acid education, preconception and prenatal education and referral services to women of childbearing age, with an emphasis on low-income, rural, Native American and Latina women. The outreach will also focus on at-risk youth ages 13-24 with limited resources. Funding: $20,000.

Refugee Women's Alliance

Refugee Women's Alliance will provide assistance for prenatal education and support to Southeast Asian and East African refugees and immigrants in order to improve maternal and infant health in the greater Puget Sound Area. Through its VitalEd Program, the group focuses on increasing folic acid and multivitamin use, increasing access to maternal health information and services, and improving behaviors for healthy pregnancies. The outreach will serve about 140 women. Funding: $13,682.

Benton Franklin Health District in Kennewick

The Benton Franklin Health District has been awarded a grant to enhance prenatal education and support services for its MOM (Mother's Oral health Matters) program. All participants in the MOM program will receive education and oral health supplies to encourage and enable improvement in oral care at home. The program also teaches public health nurses to screen pregnant women for periodontal disease and then refers patients for professional dental care. The program plans to reach out to about 400 Tri-Cities area low-income, pregnant women. Funding: $12,500.

First Step Family Support Center in Port Angeles

The First Step Family Support Center will provide monthly celebrations in English- and Spanish-speaking women to increase services and build social support systems. In addition, information about folic acid and multivitamins will be presented. The program plans to serve about 75 pregnant women. Funding: $10,750.

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. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org.

CONTACT: Alan Gulick, State Communications and Marketing, 206-624-1373, ext. 18; agulick@marchofdimes.com


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SOURCE March of Dimes - Washington State Chapter
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