Q&A with Gabby Reece and Doug Staples, Senior Vice President for Strategic Marketing and Communications March of Dimes
March of Dimes, imbornto
Gabby – Q. Tell us about the imbornto campaign.
Doug – A. The imbornto campaign was created by March of Dimes to help people give back. The campaign is based on the idea that every baby is born to do something great, and March of Dimes helped them get there through our research, education, vaccines and other breakthroughs. imbornto will run from now until Father’s Day – because what every parent really wants is a healthy baby – consumers can help by shopping, dining or donating wherever they see the March of Dimes imbornto logo.
Gabby – Q. Why did you decide to develop the campaign now?
Doug – A. We wanted to give donors a fun and easy way to get involved in supporting our mission. Sure, we’ve made a lot of progress in helping babies lead healthier lives through breakthroughs like the polio vaccine, and newborn screening tests, , but it’s not enough. Over half a million babies are born too soon every year and premature birth is a leading cause of death and disabilities.
Gabby – Q. March of Dimes has made some incredible breakthroughs in the field of prenatal and newborn health – can you tell us about a few?
Doug – A. Of course! Let’s start at the beginning – in 1955 when the Salk polio vaccine is declared safe and effective, eventually putting an end to the polio epidemic. Next, you may remember your child getting an Apgar score after giving birth – developed by Dr. Virginia Apgar who worked for many years at the March of Dimes. Or maybe you took a vitamin during pregnancy, thanks to our national Folic Acid Campaign to raise awareness of the importance of this B vitamin in preventing serious birth defects of the brain and spine.
Gabby – Q. What do you hope to achieve with the imbornto campaign?
Doug – A. We hope to raise awareness and funds so we can continue our research, education and services that help more babies be born healthy. We also want to let parents know that if they have a premature baby or a child with a birth defect, the March of Dimes is ready with information and comfort.
Gabby – Q. What do you see as the number one issue in pregnancy and newborn health today?
Doug – A. Premature birth is certainly the most concerning issue we are facing today. Premature babies are at increased risk for newborn health complications, such as breathing problems, and even death. Most premature babies require care in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU), which has specialized medical staff and equipment that can deal with the multiple problems faced by premature infants.
Premature babies also face an increased risk of lasting disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, learning and behavioral problems, cerebral palsy, lung problems and vision and hearing loss. Two recent studies suggest that premature babies may be at increased risk of symptoms associated with autism (social, behavioral and speech problems). Studies also suggest that babies born very prematurely may be at increased risk of certain adult health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Gabby – Q. Is there anything specific you’re doing to combat this?
Doug – A. March of Dimes-funded researchers are working to identify the causes of premature birth and develop new ways to prevent it. We are also raising awareness that if a woman’s pregnancy is healthy, it’s best for her to wait for labor to begin on its own, rather than scheduling an induction or c-section that could result in a premature birth. Healthy babies are worth the wait.
Gabby – Q. How can we get involved?
Doug – A. You can support the imbornto campaign this Spring! Shop with our partners, HSN, The Honest Company, Kmart, ProFlowers, Destination Maternity and Famous Footwear and give back to the March of Dimes.
About Douglas A Staples
Doug Staples is Senior Vice President for Strategic Marketing and Communications. In this position, he is responsible for overall marketing and brand strategy, media relations, creative services, and e-business for the March of Dimes.
Staples joined the March of Dimes in 1987 as a writer and later served as Director of Editorial Services and Director of Creative Services. In 2003, he played a key role in the creation of the national Prematurity Campaign, including development of award-winning public service advertising and creation of the first national Prematurity Awareness Day. In 2007, he led the rebranding of the March of Dimes, including development of a new logo and positioning.
Prior to joining the March of Dimes, Staples served as Associate Director of Finance for the Committee for Economic Development in New York and as press secretary for the state Republican Party in Hartford, Conn. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.
Doug and his wife, Chris, lost a daughter to a premature birth in 1999. They live in Carmel, N.Y., with their 17-year-old son and two dogs.