Posts Tagged ‘March of Dimes history’

Celebrating Virginia Apgar

Friday, June 5th, 2015

virginia_apgarHave you heard of the APGAR score? It is the very first test given to your baby. The APGAR score was developed by Dr. Virginia Apgar, an obstetrical anesthesiologist, in 1952. It is still used all over the world to quickly evaluate a baby after birth. Dr. Apgar is also a pivotal figure in the history of the March of Dimes. She served as the first Medical Director and she helped to redirect the March of Dimes mission from polio to birth defects and other infant health problems, including premature birth.

What is the APGAR score?

The APGAR score is designed to check your baby’s condition at 1 minute and 5 minutes after birth. Your baby is checked for five things:
A – Appearance; skin color
P – Pulse rate
G – Grimace; reflex (measured by placing a bulb syringe in the baby’s nose and seeing the response)
A – Activity; muscle tone
R – Respiration

Each category is given a score ranging from 0-2. The numbers are then added up for a final score. Babies who receive an APGAR score of 7 or more probably have come through delivery fine and are in good condition. A score of less than 7 quickly indicates whether the newborn needs special observation or, perhaps, medical attention to address or prevent a more serious problem. The baby can be referred to the appropriate specialist within moments of birth. The swift medical attention may be a lifesaver.

While the APGAR score is an accurate and very helpful tool for medical personnel it cannot predict how healthy your baby will be in the future. It simply evaluates how your baby is responding after the birth process and if he may need some additional assistance as he adapts to his new environment.

The strength of the APGAR score is its simplicity. While the score has been refined over the past 60 years, it has rarely been improved.

Dr. Apgar and the March of Dimes

Dr. Apgar joined the March of Dimes in 1959. After a severe epidemic of rubella (German measles) in 1964 and 1965 that resulted in thousands of birth defects and fetal deaths, she initiated March of Dimes programs to promote rubella immunization. She also promoted the effective use of Rh immune globulin in pregnant women to prevent hemolytic disease of the newborn due to Rh incompatibility.

In 1972, Dr. Apgar helped to convene the first Committee on Perinatal Health. A joint effort of the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the March of Dimes, this committee developed a plan to improve maternal-fetal health and reduce infant mortality. In 1976, the committee produced the landmark study, Toward Improving the Outcome of Pregnancy, which set forth a model for the regionalization of perinatal care in the United States.

June 7th is Dr. Apgar’s birthday. Dr. Apgar is remembered as a caring, enthusiastic teacher, colleague, and physician. Her enduring legacy still influences the mission of the March of Dimes today and her accomplishments continue to improve the health of babies all over the world.

Get your piece of March of Dimes history

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

2015 MOD Commemorative CoinThe 2015 March of Dimes commemorative coin is here!

This silver dollar coin blends the March of Dimes’ past, present and future and is minted in honor of 75 years of groundbreaking discoveries and innovative programs that continue to improve the lives of families and babies. On one side of the coin is the March of Dimes founder, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, along with scientist Dr. Jonas Salk. In 1938 President FDR founded the March of Dimes to fight Polio. He called on every American to give, even if it was just a dime, to wipe out this terrible disease. Those dimes led to Dr. Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine. The vaccine was declared safe, effective and potent in 1955, ending the epidemic and protecting babies ever since.

On the other side of the coin is an image of a baby being cuddled in the hand of its parent, which is symbolic of the March of Dimes’ dedication to the health of babies everywhere

The silver dollar coin was authorized by an act of Congress thanks to the efforts of March of Dimes volunteers and members of Congress.

The March of Dimes is authorized to receive $10 from each silver dollar sold to help finance research, education and services aimed at improving the health of women, infants, and children. Only 500,000 silver dollars commemorating the 75th anniversary of the March of Dimes can be produced.

The coin is on sale now and will only be available in 2015. Introductory pricing is available until April 15 so don’t delay. We encourage you to share the news of this historic coin so you can own a piece of history and the March of Dimes can continue to help all babies.

For more info, visit here.

Image of Jonas Salk used with permission of the family of Jonas Salk.

Our 75th Anniversary

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

See what we have been doing since the March of Dimes was founded by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938.

Stronger, healthier babies, 75 years in the making.

Thurgood Marshall and the March of Dimes

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

thurgood-marshallThurgood Marshall (1908-1993) will long be remembered as one of the key members of the United States Supreme Court, serving as an associate justice from 1967 to 1991. He was the first African-American justice of the Supreme Court, appointed by President Lyndon Johnson after an illustrious career as an attorney for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1954, the year in which the March of Dimes polio vaccine field trial was under way to test the effectiveness of the vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, Thurgood Marshall argued as an NAACP lawyer his most famous case before the Supreme Court. In Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, the court issued a landmark decision which effectively rendered racial discrimination in public education illegal in the United States.

Brown v. Board of Education and the Salk polio vaccine field trial both changed America for the better. The first ensured that African-Americans could not be prevented from attending the same schools as whites. The second ushered in a period of polio immunization led by the March of Dimes that ended the threat of polio in the U.S. within a few short years. Thurgood Marshall, seen in the 1957 photo here with his wife and young son, supported our efforts by rolling up his sleeve to get his “Salk shot” as did countless thousands of others in the drive to defeat polio. Marshall, along with many other black celebrities from the worlds of sports, art, entertainment, and politics either gave performances in support of the March of Dimes or posed for photos in vaccination scenes that expressed a clear message: getting vaccinated was the only way to prevent paralytic polio and the lifelong disabilities that it could cause.

Charles H. Bynum, our Director for Inter-Racial Relations in the 1950s, was the person responsible for recruiting black celebrities to the fight against polio. Mr. Bynum and the March of Dimes made polio care a civil rights issue, and stars like Ella Fitzgerald, Willie Mays, and Jackie Robinson enthusiastically supported the Foundation to uphold its pledge that polio care would be offered equally to all. Thurgood Marshall was among these, and his endorsement of the Salk polio vaccine and the March of Dimes is implicit in his appearance in this historic photo. Today, in its mission to prevent birth defects and premature birth, the March of Dimes continues to provide current information about vaccination during pregnancy as well as childhood vaccination, as one of the many important ways to promote maternal and child health. We are proud to say that Justice Thurgood Marshall is prominent in this historic effort.

Judy and Mickey support MOD

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Take a look back to when these two famous kids helped support the March of Dimes efforts to find a vaccine for the dreaded crippler; Polio.