Medela and March of Dimes Partner to Eliminate Health Equity Gap Impacting Moms and Babies

McHenry, Ill., April 26, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Medela, the most trusted breast pump brand*, has joined March of Dimes, the leading nonprofit fighting for the health of all moms and babies, in March of Dimes’ Local Collective Impact Initiative. Medela joins forces with the Chicago Southside Maternal & Child Health Taskforce, with the unified goal of solving complex societal changes in order to improve maternal and infant health, focusing on the needs of residents within the south side of Chicago.

“Unfortunately, we have a tale of two very different realities when it comes to maternal and child health outcomes. The health disparities and loss of life associated with pregnancy and birth in Illinois is unacceptable,"1,2 said Jeff Castillo, executive vice president for Medela Americas. "Our partnership with March of Dimes is fueled by our mission to improve the care available to mothers and babies. Through the work of this Collective, we will be able to make a difference in the lives of families across the Chicago area, and our goal is to expand to other communities across the country.”

Chicago’s rate of infant deaths is above the national average, with 7.9 deaths per 1,000 births (compared to 5.9 nationally) and, on average, 73 women in Illinois die each year within one year of pregnancy, with non-Hispanic black mothers being disproportionately affected.3,4 As even one infant or mother's death is too many, it is crucial to understand systemic realities and challenge existing healthcare limitations in order to bridge the gaps behind these staggering disparities.

Comprised of 40 committee members representing local governments, state leaders, corporate health partners, and community-based organizations and stakeholders, the Local Collective Impact Initiative aims to improve maternal and infant health for all moms and babies, with an emphasis on underserved populations. Through its health equity and social determinants lens, and by using a data-based, results-driven approach, the Chicago Southside Maternal & Child Health Taskforce, will mobilize communities to support moms throughout their entire pregnancy journey.

“Our nation is in the midst of a maternal and infant health crisis, which is particularly devastating for underserved families of color,” said Ashley Thies, Illinois Senior Executive Director. “Over 700 women die each year from pregnancy-related causes, and the CDC reports that 60% are preventable5. Also, while our latest Report Card shows that Illinois’ preterm birth rate declined to 10.3%, the rate for Black women is 51% higher than the rate of all other women.We are grateful for partners like Medela for working alongside us to improve the health of moms and babies and bring attention to the alarming racial health disparities across Chicago, Illinois, and the nation.”

Since 2008 Medela and its employees have raised more than $154,000 to fund research, education, and advocacy efforts for March of Dimes, which, for more than 80 years, has been supporting efforts to address the racial disparities and social determinants of health that contribute to preterm birth and maternal mortality.

Joining the task force is a testament to Medela Cares, Medela’s corporate social responsibility program, which focuses on solutions for global issues, including maternal and infant health amidst critical transitions such as coming home from the hospital, fostering the mother-baby bond in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or the return to work. With Medela Cares’ emphasis on serving the underrepresented and populations experiencing crisis, earlier this year March of Dimes announced its support of Medela Cares and the program's efforts to provide products and educational resources to nonprofit organizations. For more information about Medela Cares, visit

To learn more about the work of the Chicago Southside Maternal & Child Health Taskforce, visit March of Dimes’ Igniting Impact Together.

About Medela

Through advancing research, observing natural behavior, and listening to our customers, Medela turns science into care while nurturing health for generations. Medela supports millions of moms, babies, patients, and healthcare professionals in more than 100 countries all over the world.  As the healthcare choice for more than 6 million hospitals and homes across the globe, Medela provides the leading research-based breast milk feeding and baby products, healthcare solutions for hospitals, and clinical education. Medela is dedicated to building better health outcomes, simplifying and improving life, and developing breakthroughs that help moms, babies and patients live their life to the fullest. For more information, visit

About March of Dimes

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 80 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs. For the latest resources and health information, visit our websites and If you have been affected by prematurity or birth defects, visit our community to find comfort and support. Find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

*Voted the most trusted breast pump brand by United States and Canadian shoppers based on the 2022 BrandSpark® American and Canadian Trust Studies


2 March of Dimes Report Card.” March of Dimes Report Card,

3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

4 Illinois Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan 2022-2027.

5 Petersen EE, Davis NL, Goodman D, et al. Vital Signs: Pregnancy-Related Deaths, United States, 2011-2015, and Strategies for Prevention, 13 States, 2013-2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019;68(18):423‐429.  


Eliminating Health Equity Gap Impacting Moms and Babies

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