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.
In 2003, March of Dimes launched a national prematurity campaign to understand the most important threat to the newborns health, preterm birth. In 2011, the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center at Stanford University School of Medicine was established as the latest development in the effort to eradicate prematurity. And in 2013, the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center Ohio Collaborative was established, bringing together a transdisciplinary team of leading researchers from universities and medical centers throughout the state of Ohio.
This year, the March of Dimes celebrates its 75th anniversary and its ongoing work to help all babies get a healthy start in life. More than 4 million babies were born in the United States last year, and the March of Dimes has helped each and every one through research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs.
Meet our Leadership Team and Program Directors
Together with the Ohio Collaborative’s leadership team, faculty researchers, staff and trainees, the March of Dimes leadership team helps to shape the Collaborative’s direction, evaluate the on-going research progress and provide the necessary funding.
Stacey Davis Stewart joined the March of Dimes Foundation as President-Elect on November 7, 2016 and will take over as President on January 1, 2017. In this role, Ms. Stewart will promote a global strategy around the organization’s mission to give all babies a healthy start. She will be responsible for leading all aspects of the organization’s strategy, vision and operations. Stewart comes to March of Dimes from United Way Worldwide, where she held several positions, most recently serving as U.S. President. At United Way, she provided strategic direction in driving community impact, revenue, and enhancing the organization’s brand. Prior to becoming U.S. President, Stewart served as Executive Vice President, Community Impact Leadership and Learning at United Way. A business veteran, Stewart also has held a number of senior roles, including Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Vice President for the Office of Community and Charitable Giving at Fannie Mae, as well as President and Chief Executive Officer for the Fannie Mae Foundation. Ms. Stewart has a master's of business administration in finance from the University of Michigan and a bachelor of arts in economics from Georgetown University. She also holds honorary degrees from Trinity University, Morgan State University, Texas Southern University, Lincoln University, and Alabama A&M University. She currently serves on several boards nationally and in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area. Ms. Stewart is married to Jarvis C. Stewart, the Chairman and Managing Partner of I + R Media, LLC a strategic communications firm based in Washington, D.C. The Stewarts have two children, Madeleine and Savannah.
Michael Katz, M.D. is Senior Advisor, Transdisciplinary Research, at March of Dimes Foundation and a member of the Foundation’s President’s Leadership Council, and Executive Committee. A colleague since 1992, he has also served as the Foundation’s Vice President of Research, and until recently, Senior Vice President of Research and Global Programs. Dr. Katz has had a long and distinguished career in which his expertise and counsel have been sought after, and his contributions repeatedly recognized as invaluable, by dozens of boards, committees and medical societies around the world. He currently serves on the Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee of EURO, the Committee on Human Rights of The National Academies, as Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council of the INTERGROWTH Project at the University of Oxford, and as the Reuben S. Carpentier Professor, Emeritus of Pediatrics, at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Joe Leigh Simpson, M.D. is Senior Vice President for Research and Global Programs at March of Dimes Foundation. In addition, he is also Professor, Department Obstetrics and Gynecology; Professor, Department of Human and Molecular Genetics; and the former Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Florida International University College of Medicine. Dr. Simpson is a productive and prolific writer, researcher and thought leader who has been recognized and honored for his myriad contributions and advancements to medicine theory and practice. His excellence as a doctor, and his accomplishments are highly regarded the world over. He has written over 760 original articles, chapters and various other publications, more than 270 medical abstracts, and more than 30 books and edited works. He has been a valued and inspirational colleague at the March of Dimes since 1983.
Louis J. Muglia, M.D., Ph.D. (Coordinating Principal Investigator and Program Director) is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati and Associate Chair for Research, Co-Director of the Perinatal Institute and Director, Center for Prevention of Preterm Birth at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. As Coordinating Principal Investigator and Program Director of the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center Ohio Collaborative, he works closely with the other program directors to lead the Collaborative’s effort to understand preterm birth. He also leads the Molecular Developmental Biology of Pregnancy research theme. For the last 25 years, Dr. Muglia has been at the forefront of research, professional education, science and clinical care in pediatrics. His expertise in genetics and endocrine signaling pathways has led to an innovative comparative genomic approach to identifying novel genes likely to be involved in the timing of birth. Dr. Muglia has mentored over 30 graduate and postdoctoral students and trainees and has published more than 180 articles in leading peer-reviewed journals. He has been recognized with numerous awards, including a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Development Award, the Society for Pediatric Research Young Investigator Award and is a fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies and the American Society for Clinical Investigation and currently serves as chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Irina A. Buhimschi, M.D. (Program Director) is a Professor of Pediatrics and Obstetrics/Gynecology at The Ohio State University and the Director of the Center for Perinatal Research at the Research Institute of Nationwide Children’s Hospital. As Program Director, she has oversight responsibility for the Collaborative’s research efforts in the Columbus area and is also the leader of the Sociobiology of Racial Disparities in Preterm Birth research team. Dr. Buhimschi’s research interests span the broad area of understanding the molecular and pathophysiologic mechanisms of preterm labor and preeclampsia that together account for the large majority of preterm births. Her work has been supported by the NIH, March of Dimes, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID and other funding agencies. She has more than 140 peer-reviewed publications, has served on numerous editorial boards and grant review committees and is a highly sought mentor for undergraduate students, clinical fellows and junior faculty.
Sam Mesiano, Ph.D. (Program Director) is a Professor of Reproductive Biology at Case Western Reserve University and Co-Director of the Research Division in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University Hospitals of Cleveland. As Program Director and theme co-leader of Progesterone Signaling in Pregnancy Maintenance and Preterm Birth, he is a key member of the leadership team and directs the Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals, and MetroHealth component of the collaborative. Dr. Mesiano’s expertise in understanding how progesterone promotes pregnancy and how its withdrawal is mediated to initiate labor in women will be critical for the long-term goal of developing therapeutics to prevent preterm birth by exploiting the natural pro-gestational actions of progesterone. He received the President’s Achievement Award from the Society for Gynecologic Investigation in 2006 and is a member of the Preterm Birth International Collaborative, the Perinatal Research Society and the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth.