On Sunday, June 26th, members of the CRECE and PROTECT Team participated in the March of Dimes March for Babies in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rico Chapter of the March of Dimes works to reduce the rate of preterm birth on the island, which in 2014 was 12% of all births. Members of the March of Dimes team work towards this goal by providing education to young women about personal health management before, during, and after their pregnancies, and by providing support to these women when pregnancy complications such as preterm birth arise.
The march took place in the José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum, where many child-oriented activities were set up to appeal to children in attendance. Volunteers dressed up in in superhero costumes, balloons were offered, upbeat music was played, and videos were projected onto the screens. The bulk of organizing efforts for this event were completed by parents of premature babies, so there were many young families in attendance, making the kid-friendly atmosphere especially fitting.
PROTECT and CRECE have partnered with March of Dimes in the past. Last February, PROTECT, CRECE, and March of Dimes hosted a Zika information session in San Juan. Members of PROTECT and CRECE have also participated in the March for Babies in prior years, and co-director Dr. José Cordero serves on the Board of Trustees for the national March of Dimes organization. At this event, Dr. Cordero was recognized for his continuous efforts to help the organization.
This year, the March for Babies occurred just days after the opening of the PROTECT/CRECE clinic in Manatí. In this setting, the team will be working to accomplish goals similar to the goals of the March of Dimes. By working to understand the ways in which harmful environmental chemicals can impact infant development in-utero and postnatally, PROTECT and CRECE have hopes of increasing the health of Puerto Rican mothers and their children.