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ConnXus Inaugural Sourcing Event to Raise Funds and Awareness for March of Dimes
#ConnXusCares about preventing infant mortality and premature birth.
You may know of the March of Dimes from their successful campaign to end polio and their subsequent programs aimed at combating Rubella, fetal alcohol syndrome, and other public health issues. Our COO, Daryl Hammett, has served on the board since 2015. Our inaugural ConnXSmart sourcing event taking place next month on Thursday, September 21 will raise awareness about March of Dimes. Attendees who make a donation before or at the event will receive a special gift.
In 2003, the March of Dimes launched the Prematurity Campaign to address the premature birth crisis and help families have full-term, healthy babies. They are funding lifesaving research and speaking out for legislation that improves care for moms and babies.
After decades of increases, the rate of premature birth in the United States has now been on a steady decline for the last several years.
This decline – from 12.3% in 2003 to 9.6% percent today – has saved thousands of babies from being born too soon. It also has saved our nation billions of dollars in excess health care costs. Despite this progress, about 380,000 babies are born prematurely each year. With us today is Tina Jackson, executive director of market development, with Greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky and Dayton March of Dimes chapter to shed some light on the March of Dimes’ new mission.
ConnXus: How has the March of Dimes’ mission changed since developing a vaccine for polio?
Tina: Today, our current mission is to focus on premature birth, infant mortality, and birth defects. The March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign, launched in 2003, aims to reduce preterm birth rates across the United States. We are promoting and funding comprehensive research and initiatives to ensure that babies are born healthy and to full term.
ConnXus: Why are the infant mortality and preterm birth rates in Ohio (especially Cincinnati area) particularly high?
T: That’s one of the things we are still trying to figure out. Ohio is currently ranked 40th in the nation for preterm births, with a preterm birthrate of 10.3%. Hamilton County in particular has some of the highest preterm birthrates in the state at 10.8% – 1.2% higher than the national average. We are also trying to understand and eliminate the racial disparities in preterm birthrates. As it currently stands, African American mothers are near 50% more likely to experience birth preterm than other communities. Although we have learned a lot about preterm birth, we are still trying to pinpoint specific cause(s).
ConnXus: How does MoD provide people with the resources necessary to fight infant mortality?
T: We help families through our CARES system:
Community – Our programs help moms in the Greater Cincinnati & NKY market and across the country have full term pregnancies and healthy babies
Advocate for legislation, services & programs for moms in the area to get care to improve their health and the health of their babies
Research the serious problems that threaten babies and work on treating and preventing them
Education for moms via online pregnancy information in English and Spanish where health experts can answer their questions
Support through our online communities and in hospitals in the area and offer information and comfort to families with newborns in intensive care
We also provide local grants to hospitals and other organizations whose focus fall in line with our mission, such as programs that encourage early and regular prenatal care and education.
ConnXus: What progress have you made in Ohio and what goals do you have set for the future?
T: We’ve been able to show a small impact on reducing the rate of infant mortality rate here by promoting the three S’s:
Smoking: Reducing smoking among expectant mothers
Sleep: Putting your baby to sleep flat on their back on a flat, firm surface in their own crib or bassinet.
Spacing: Not having a child any sooner than 12-18 months prior to last birth
Each state has a different goal based on their individual benchmarks. March of Dimes 2020 goal for Ohio is to reduce preterm births to 9.6% from 10.3% over the next three years. We also aim to bring down the national preterm birthrate to 8.1%.
ConnXus: How did you become involved in this organization?
T: I had previously volunteered for other organizations and really enjoyed it. I wanted to use my business background to work towards a cause that would make an impact on the community. Back in 2010 I happened to know someone who was moving to Tennessee and was stepping down from the board and they let me know they were looking for an Executive Director, and the rest is history!
ConnXus: What do you spend most of your time on at MoD?
T: As the executive director of market development, my primary focus is to lead the market in fundraising, engage with volunteer leaders in the community, lead my team and bring brand awareness to the mission of the March of Dimes.
ConnXus: How can people get involved with the March of Dimes?
T: We are always looking for volunteers to help out at the office in addition to our seasonal events. If you are interested feel free to email Jill Hoffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.