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About the March of Dimes NC Preconception Health Campaign
The March of Dimes North Carolina Preconception Health Campaign is a new statewide initiative aimed at improving birth outcomes in North Carolina by reaching out to women with important health messages before they become pregnant.
The Campaign formerly functioned as the North Carolina Folic Acid Campaign, a nationally recognized, award-winning campaign created to improve infant and maternal health by promoting the benefits and consumption of folic acid.
Our former campaign was designed to reduce the occurrence of neural tube defects (NTDs) in newborn children by encouraging women of childbearing age to take a multivitamin containing 400 mcg of folic acid every day. While we still carry the folic acid message with us wherever we go, we’ve added new messages and new initiatives under the larger umbrella of preconception health.
The new goals of the March of Dimes North Carolina Preconception Health Campaign (NCPHC) are to reduce infant mortality, birth defects, premature birth, and chronic health conditions in women, while also aiming to increase intended pregnancies in North Carolina. To do this we must improve women’s wellness, improve reproductive outcomes, and reduce health disparities.
In order to achieve our mission the NCPHC seeks to raise awareness and inspire positive action among the general public, health care professionals and community agencies through a fully integrated educational and media campaign.
Some of our innovative initiatives include:
- The Community Ambassador Program: Regional coordinators train women across the state to be community health educators. These women can help increase awareness and influence attitudes through community venues and personal networks. To reach North Carolina’s growing Latino population, a culturally-modified version of this program is also conducted in Spanish.
- The Office Champion Program: Because 86 percent of women who do not take vitamins say they would do so upon the recommendation of their health care provider, the Campaign developed a health care provider education initiative that creates a peer point person in physician practices. This program has recently expanded to include other preconception health messages, like healthy weight.
- Latino Campaign: Latina women are twice as likely as the general population to have babies born with NTDs. The NCPHC has a staff member dedicated to Latina outreach to promote folic acid and has created special programs and advertising in Spanish using culturally relevant messages.
- Media and Materials: Using a variety of media, the NCPHC has developed a series of effective campaigns touting the benefits of folic acid and preconception health to the general public. We offer free educational materials to anyone in North Carolina.
Funding for the NCPHC currently comes from external program grants at the March of Dimes North Carolina Chapter:
- The North Carolina Legislature provides nonrecurring funding most years.
- The North Carolina Department of Public Health, Women’s Health Branch also provides funding for time-limited special projects.
We are deeply grateful to the March of Dimes, the Department of Public Health’s Women's Health Branch, the North Carolina Preconception Health Coalition, and countless other agencies and groups who have supported us during this transition. Thank you for your support!