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.
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 investigators
Together with the Prematurity Research Center’s Principal and Co-Principal Investigators, faculty researchers, staff and trainees, the March of Dimes leadership team helps to shape the Center's direction, evaluate the on-going research progress and provide the necessary funding.
Jennifer Howse, Ph.D. became President of the March of Dimes Foundation in January 1990. Under Dr. Howse’s leadership, the March of Dimes has doubled its revenue and achieved impressive mission results for mothers and infants, including the successful national folic acid campaign, and the launch of a National Prematurity Prevention Campaign. She joined the March of Dimes as Executive Director of the Greater New York Chapter, and prior to that, held several top public service leadership positions including State Commissioner for Mental Retardation in Pennsylvania, Associate Commissioner for Mental Retardation in New York State, and Executive Director of the Federal Court appointed Willowbrook Review Panel in New York City. She serves on the Board of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, and the National Health Council. Dr. Howse is an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Her many contributions were recognized by the scientific community through election in 2011 to the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine and in 2013 to the American Pediatric Society.
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.
David K. Stevenson M.D. (Principal Investigator), is the Harold K. Faber Professor of Pediatrics and Professor, by courtesy, of Obstetrics and Gynecology, as well as the Vice Dean and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Stanford University School of Medicine. As Principal Investigator of the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center at Stanford University School of Medicine, he leads the center's work to understand preterm birth. For the past 30 years, Dr. Stevenson has been at the forefront of research, professional education and clinical care in neonatology. His experience includes over 30 years of continuous NIH funding, and leadership for the Stanford site of the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development's Neonatal Research Network and Spectrum, the Stanford Center for Clinical and Translational Education and Research. Dr. Stevenson's studies of neonatal jaundice have produced new technologies and standards of care for treatment of this common disorder of newborns. His research has also examined many other problems associated with prematurity, as well as public-health efforts to integrate newborn care across the state of California. Dr. Stevenson has published more than 450 articles in leading peer-reviewed journals. He is board-certified in general pediatrics and neonatal-perinatal medicine and is a practicing neonatologist at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. Dr. Stevenson has been recognized with numerous awards, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Award for Excellence in Pediatric Research, the AAP Virginia Apgar Award in Perinatal Pediatrics, and the Jonas Salk Award for Leadership in Prematurity Prevention from the March of Dimes Foundation. He is a Member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, National Academy of Sciences.
Maurice L. Druzin, M.D. (Co-Principal Investigator) is the Charles B. and Ann L. Johnson Professor in the School of Medicine, Gynecology and Obstetrics and, by courtesy, Pediatrics at Stanford University. He is also Co-Director of the Johnson Center for Pregnancy and Newborn Services and Chief of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine. Dr. Druzin has extensive experience and skill in diagnosis and treatment of medical complications of pregnancy, particularly systemic lupus erythematosus, hypertension, diabetes, and malignancy and is internationally recognized for his excellence in antepartum fetal testing.
Gary M. Shaw, Dr.P.H. (Co-Principal Investigator) is Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine, and Associate Chair for Clinical Research in the Department of Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Shaw is an extraordinarily prolific researcher in the epidemiology of birth defects, gene-environment approaches to perinatal outcomes, and the impact of nutrition on reproductive outcomes with more than 300 publications in major refereed journals. He has substantial experience in designing, conducting, and leading large multidisciplinary scientific studies, and unparalleled experience and success in utilizing newborn blood spots and other DNA sources in exploring gene-environment interactions as contributors to the outcome of pregnancy. He was the research director for the State of California Birth Defects Monitoring Program before coming to Stanford University in 2008. He serves on editorial boards of numerous scientific journals.
Paul H. Wise, M.D., M.P.H. (Co-Principal Investigator) is the Richard E. Behrman Professor of Child Health and Society, the Director of the Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention, and Fellow of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Wise is a well-known health policy and outcomes researcher whose work has focused on children’s health outcomes and social disparities; the interaction of genetics and the environment in shaping child and maternal health; and the impact of medical technology on disparities in health outcomes. Dr. Wise has special expertise in integrating health and social science research strategies and has served on a variety of national advisory committees directed at developing cross-disciplinary research initiatives.