PROTECT and ECHO Teams Participate in San Juan’s 2023 March for Babies

Dec 20, 2023 | Community Engagement Core, Events, Human Subjects & Sampling Core, PROTECT Team, PROTECT Trainees

On November 10th, Community Engagement Core (CEC) and Human Subjects and Sampling Core (HSSC) team members participated in March of Dimes 27th March for Babies event in San Juan.

March of Dimes is a nonprofit organization that was initially founded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938. Today, the organization’s mission is focused on ending preventable maternal health risks and preterm birth, and closing the health equity gap for mothers. PROTECT has maintained a strong partnership with March of Dimes Puerto Rico, and participated in the organization’s March for Babies events, for several years. These events are held throughout the country and act as an important fundraising and awareness event for March of Dimes’ equity and access goals. They also serve as community building events, where local family groups, businesses, education centers, and health centers get involved.

This year’s San Juan event was held in the Tomás Dones Coliseum in Fajardo. The March was sponsored by more than 20 different businesses and organizations based in the area, including PROTECT, and was attended by around 3000 people. Several members of PROTECT’s CEC and HSSC attended the event, including core lead Carmen Vélez Vega, Data Manager Zaira Rosario Pabón, community coordinator Héctor Torres Zayas, trainee Nobel Hernández Otero, and study nurses Jessica Medina, Rocio Cuevas Gines, and Nilda Otero.

The San Juan event is especially significant for March of Dimes considering the rate of preterm birth in Puerto Rico remains higher than that of the overall United States. March of Dimes reported that the island’s rate of preterm birth in 2022 was 11.8%, compared to the United States rate of 10.4%. The organization also reported Puerto Rico’s infant mortality rate in 2021 was 6.9%, higher than the overall United States rate of 5.4%. As Puerto Rico’s mothers and babies continue to face reproductive challenges, PROTECT and March of Dimes remain dedicated to their partnership and work to improve reproductive health, wellbeing, and equity in the community.