President Franklin Delano Roosevelt establishes the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (later called the March of Dimes), a partnership of scientists and volunteers. Their goal - to conquer polio.
First chapter of March of Dimes established.
Dr. Jonas Salk conducts research to create a polio vaccine.
First Mothers March takes place in Pheonix, Arizona, to raise emergency funds during a polio outbreak.
Dr. Salk confirms the feasability of using killed virus vaccine for polio.
1,830,000 school children participate in polio vaccine field trials funded and organized by the March of Dimes.

MOD grantees Drs. Thomas Weller, Frederick Robbins and John Enders win Nobel Prize for developing tissue culture method for growing polio virus

MOD grantee Dr. Linus Pauling wins Nobel Prize for discovering the relationship between human disease and molecular structure.

The March of Dimes establishes the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
Screening test for PKU developed based on work funded by March of Dimes.

Oral polio vaccine is licensed. Dr. Albert Sabin developed the vaccine with March of Dimes funding.

MOD grantee Dr. James Watson is awarded the Nobel Prize for identifying the double helix structure of DNA.

MOD grantee Dr. Max Delbruck wins the Nobel Prize for demonstrating how genetic mutations cause abnormal development.
First ever WalkAmerica events take place in Columbus, Ohio and San Antonio, Texas.

MOD grantees prove that drinking alcohol during pregnancy causes birth defects.

April Murphy is the first baby with a birth defect to be successfully treated in the womb.

March of Dimes calls for regional system of neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) to care for extremely sick babies.
MOD grantee Dr. Carleton Gajdusek wins Nobel Prize for discovering the role of unconventional infectious agents in certain rare degenerative diseases.
Babies & You launched. This is a program devoted to worksite prenatal health promotion.

MOD grantee Dr. Joseph L. Goldstein wins Nobel Prize for identifying the cellular of familial hypercholesterolemia, a disease which allows the build-up of cholesterol in the blood.

Danielle Cofey is among the first infants to be treated with life-saving surfactant therapy.

MOD researchers find the genes responsible for Marfan syndrome and fragile X syndrome.
Cynthia Cutshall and Ashanti DeSilva become the first Americans to undergo gene therapy.
March of Dimes begins national campaigns to educate women about the importance of taking folic acid to prevent neural tube birth defects.
MOD grantees Drs. Eric F. Wieschaus and Edward B. Lewis win Nobel Prize for identifying the master genes that control early structural development in the body.
Supported by the March of Dimes, the FDA approves fortifying grain product with folic acid.
Congress passes the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), to provide health care coverage to 5 million more children than before.

Congress passes the Birth Defects Prevention Act, establishing a nation-wide network of programs to research and monitor birth defects.


MOD grantees successfully treat hemophilia and retinis pigmentosa in the lab using gene therapy.
Congress approves the Children's Health Act to help states expand newborn screening for defects and disabilities and to create a National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.

With the continued support of dedicated volunteers and the ongoing progress of medical research, the March of Dimes continues to impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of babies every year.

Looking to the future, the March of Dimes is focusing its efforts on the following:

  • Educating women on how they can prevent birth defects in their children.
  • Investing in medical research.
  • Working to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in birth outcomes.
  • Ensuring that all pregnant women, babies and children have health care coverage.

Here at UVA we are doing our part to improve the lives of babies everywhere. We are inspired by the words of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt: "Now by the edge of the future, we cannot slacken our faith. For the sake of our children and our children's children, we must drive ahead into tommorow."