The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

4076.0: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - Board 7

Abstract #65625

Building a sustainable infrastructure for statewide folic acid education: The March of Dimes National Folic Acid Campaign

Suzanne Nobrega, MS1, Lila Herndon Vizzard, MPH2, Susan Clifford1, Janis Biermann, MS1, and Scott D. Berns, MD, MPH3. (1) Chapter Program Support, March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, 1275 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY 10605, (2) National Office, March of Dimes, 1275 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY 10605, (3) Chapter Program Support, March of Dimes, 1275 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY 10605, 914-997-4705,

Women of childbearing age who consume 400 mcg of folic acid, a B vitamin, before and early in pregnancy, may help prevent their baby’s risk for birth defects of the brain and spinal cord by up to 70%. The March of Dimes recently concluded a four-year, nationwide campaign to educate health care professionals and consumers about the benefits of taking folic acid and to promote its intake by women of child-bearing age. One component of this campaign was the establishment of state Folic Acid Councils. These coalitions of key constituents in each state focused on implementing the national campaign locally with the goal of decreasing the incidence of neural tube defects in each state.

At the conclusion of the national campaign, leadership of the statewide councils was transitioned to new agencies, most often to state departments of health. A modest amount of grant funding was provided to the new lead agencies to support their work in coordinating council activities. The March of Dimes has conducted multiple data collection activities to assess the effectiveness of the state councils in accomplishing campaign goals and in developing sustainable, statewide systems for folic acid education. These activities included individual interviews and web-based surveys with council representatives and March of Dimes staff liaisons. This presentation will describe what the March of Dimes has learned about the ability of state councils to implement a national public health education campaign, including characteristics of effective models of collaboration and factors that contribute to and/or hinder sustainability.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Coalition, Food and Nutrition

Related Web page:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Topics in Women's Health

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA