Overview

In November of 2014, the March of Dimes joined with Washington University in St. Louis to launch the third prematurity research center aimed exclusively at finding the unknown causes of preterm birth. This web site announces the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center at Washington University in St. Louis and demonstrates the commitment and enthusiasm of accomplished directors, investigators, and faculty members as they come together in this transdisciplinary effort to solve the mysteries of preterm birth.

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 newborn health—preterm birth. In 2011, the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center at Stanford University was established to work toward eradicating 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. In 2014, the March of Dimes adds yet another distinguished institution—Washington University in St. Louis—to support the effort to address the crisis of preterm birth.

Read the 2014 Annual Report

Read the 2013 Annual Report

Download 2012 Annual Report PDF (5.2 MB)

Download 2011 Annual Report PDF (4.7 MB)

Meet our Leadership Team and Program Directors

Together with Washington University in St. Louis leadership team, faculty researchers, staff, and consultants, the March of Dimes leadership team helps to shape the Prematurity Research Center’s direction, evaluate the on-going research progress, and provide the necessary funding.

Leadership Team

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. FACOG, FACMG, became Senior Vice President for Research and Global Programs at March of Dimes Foundation in 2012. Certified in Obstetrics/Gynecology as well as Medical Genetics, he previously held academic positions at Northwestern University, University of Tennessee Memphis, and Baylor College of Medicine, serving as a Chairman of Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology for 20 years. Immediately prior to joining March of Dimes, he was Founding 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 research accomplishments, especially in genetics of reproductive disorders and in genetic evaluations of pregnancies. His excellence as a physician and his accomplishments are highly regarded the world over. He has written almost 800 original articles and chapters and more than 30 books or edited works. He has on multiple occasions been an advisor for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Medical Commission of the International Olympic Committee. He has served as President of seven major national or international organizations including the Society for Gynecological Investigation, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, American College of Medical Genetics, and at present International Federation of Fertility Societies (like March of Dimes, a Non-Governmental Organization in official relations with the World Health Organization). Since 1994, he has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine. He has been a valued and inspirational colleague for the March of Dimes since 1983.

Program Directors

George Macones, M.D., M.S.C.E., is the Mitchell and Elaine Yanow Professor and Chair of OB/GYN at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Macones completed his M.D. at Jefferson Medical College, followed by residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Pennsylvania Hospital. During his fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, he also completed a Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania. Following fellowship, Dr. Macones was on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania for 11 years, spending his last 6 years as Director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Director of Obstetrics. Dr. Macones is an internationally recognized expert in perinatal clinical and translational research, and has held several research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He is currently Co-Director of a Specialized Centers of Research grant from the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the NIH and is principal investigator of a training grant on Reproductive Epidemiology and the Washington University Women’s Reproductive Health Research training grant. He has over 300 peer-reviewed publications related to clinical and translational research in obstetrics. His research interests include general obstetrical issues (labor induction, vaginal birth after cesarean) and the prediction and prevention of preterm birth. He has served on numerous national committees, including the Food and Drug Administration’s Advisory Committee on Reproductive Drugs and on numerous study sections for NIH. He has worked closely with the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, authoring practice bulletins on fetal monitoring in labor and the prevention of preterm birth, and has served as Chair of the Committee on Obstetric Practice. He has served as the Director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and currently serves on its Board of Directors. Dr. Macones was recently named Deputy Editor for Obstetrics for the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Alan L. Schwartz, M.D., Ph.D., is the Harriet B. Spoehrer Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Washington University and Pediatrician-in-Chief at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Following graduation from Case Western Reserve University, he received research fellowship training in Helsinki, Finland, and Auckland, New Zealand (with Sir Professor G.C. Liggins) prior to his residency at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. After fellowship training in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Boston Children’s, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he was on the faculty of Harvard Medical School. In 1986, Dr. Schwartz was recruited to Washington University School of Medicine as Alumni-Endowed Professor of Pediatrics, where he began the Lucille P. Markey Special Emphasis Pathway in Human Pathobiology. In 1995, Dr. Schwartz assumed his current position, where he directs the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-designated Child Health Research Center at Washington University School of Medicine as well as two NIH-funded pediatric physician-scientist training programs. Dr. Schwartz’s research program has been continuously supported by the NIH for over 32 years and focuses on the biology of cellular receptors and mechanisms of protein targeting and degradation. He has published over 250 articles and has received numerous honors including the E. Mead Johnson Award. He is a member of many societies and serves on numerous boards. Dr. Schwartz is a member of the Institute of Medicine at the U.S. National Academy of Science.

Sarah England, Ph.D., is a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University. She is a graduate of Carleton College and obtained her doctorate in Physiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. She completed her post-doctoral training at Vanderbilt University in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics. In 1997, Dr. England moved to the University of Iowa as an Assistant Professor in the Carver College of Medicine in the Departments of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, where she began studying the molecular mechanisms underlying uterine function during pregnancy. Dr. England was active in multiple educational initiatives at the University of Iowa including directing the Iowa Biosciences Advantage program, a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded initiative that serves to increase the number of underrepresented minority undergraduates pursuing doctorate degrees in the biomedical sciences. She also served as co-investigator of the Minority Health International Research Training grant, which funds students to study health disparities in developing countries. She was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow from 2005-06, during which she worked in the office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on policies related to maternal and child health issues, women’s health, the healthcare workforce, and health disparities. She joined the faculty at Washington University School of Medicine in July 2011. Her work has been funded by the NIH, the American Heart Association, and other agencies and foundations. Dr. England has authored many research and review articles and has reviewed for multiple journals in both basic science and clinical fields. Dr. England has served on review committees for multiple funding agencies including the NIH, March of Dimes, American Heart Association, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.