President Franklin Roosevelt established the March of Dimes in 1938. The March of Dimes has saved the lives of millions of babies. The mission of the March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality.
The March of Dimes carries out this mission through research, community services, education and advocacy to save babies’ lives. March of Dimes researchers, volunteers, educators, outreach workers and advocates work together to give all babies a fighting chance against the threats to their health: prematurity, birth defects, and low birthweight.
Preventing and treating birth defects
Each year in the United States, more than 120,000 babies are born with a birth defect. They are the leading cause of infant deaths. There are thousands of different birth defects, affecting the structure or function of every part of the human body. The March of Dimes provides grants to researchers, with the goal of understanding the causes of birth defects and developing new ways to prevent and treat them. Currently, about 70 percent of the causes of birth defects are unknown.
The processes of development
Some March of Dimes grantees are studying basic biological processes of development. This important research should improve our understanding of how genes and other factors direct the transformation from a single cell into a complete being. A more advanced look at the process of development will help reveal what can go wrong along the way. Others are conducting clinical studies aimed at finding ways to prevent or treat specific birth defects.
Genetics has long been a main theme of March of Dimes research. Grantees have discovered genes that cause or contribute to a number of common birth defects, including fragile X syndrome, cleft lip and palate, and heart defects. These discoveries pave the way for treatments and preventions for these birth defects.
Donations to this charity are tax deductible.