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Four Outstanding Nurses Recognized For Their Dedication to Maternal and Infant Health

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., June 22, 2010 – Four exceptional registered nurses have been awarded scholarships by the March of Dimes for graduate studies in the field of maternal-child nursing, it was announced today.
These nurses are passionate about nursing and work tirelessly to improve maternal and infant health, the March of Dimes says.

 "The March of Dimes is proud to help these nurses succeed and continue their nursing education," said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. "We hope these scholarships will help them achieve their goals of improving the health of women and babies."

The March of Dimes Graduate Nursing Scholarship was founded in 1997 to recognize and promote excellence in the nursing care of mothers and babies. Each recipient receives $5,000 to continue their graduate maternal-child nursing studies.   The four scholarship winners for 2010 are:

Amana Alcala-Moss, M.N., R.N., of Corvallis, Oregon, who is pursuing a master's degree in public health and a doctorate in nursing at Oregon Health and Science University.   Ms. Alcala-Moss has been a nurse for 12 years and has worked as a mental health nurse practitioner, specializing in trauma and perinatal mental health. She is currently working with immigrant and refugee women from Latin American, Middle Eastern, and African countries suffering from psychological trauma.  She is multi-lingual, and plans to continue work in many countries around the world, including Spain, Morocco, and Mexico as well as in the U.S.

Kirsten Hanrahan,
A.R.N.P., D.N.Pc., of Iowa City, Iowa, who is a pursuing a doctorate in nursing practice at the University of Iowa.  Ms. Hanrahan is a pediatric nurse practitioner and has a long history of activism in neonatal nursing.  She has used her past positions as a staff nurse and now as a nurse practitioner in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to study methods of providing the best care possible for babies.   She investigated the effects of non-washable toys on premature infants in the NICU and developed and implemented an evidence-based protocol in her hospital which resulted in decreased infection rates.

Amy Starke, M.P.H., R.N., of Ann Arbor, Michigan, who is pursuing a master's degree in nursing, specializing in midwifery, at the University of Michigan.  Ms. Starke has significant international experience, including work in the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso, Republic of Congo and India.  She is currently working on a project in Liberia, West Africa, to help reduce maternal and infant mortality in that country.  The ultimate goal for this project is to develop targeted community-based interventions for severe pregnancy complications.  She plans to continue this international work in the service of women and infants when she completes her midwifery degree.

Leah Peterson,
R.N., S.N.M., from San Francisco, California, who is working toward a master's degree in nurse midwifery at the University of California at San Francisco. In addition to her schooling, Ms. Peterson volunteers in the "Women's Community Clinic" where she serves women with free health care.  Since Ms. Peterson is fluent in Spanish, she is able to communicate with her patients in their own language, assuring that they have a full understanding of their health during pregnancy.  Ms. Peterson spent two years volunteering as a doula with AmeriCorps in Denver, Colorado, where she helped largely Spanish-speaking patients and she intends to work with this population after graduating.

Qualified applicants for the March of Dimes graduate nursing scholarships are registered nurses currently enrolled in a graduate program in maternal-child nursing at the master's or doctorate level.  Applicants must be a member of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, or the National Association of Neonatal Nurses. Applications for the 2011 scholarships will be available this fall on the March of Dimes website at, or by calling the March of Dimes at (914) 997-4609.  Applications are due January 15, 2011.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies®, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit or

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