Our goals and partners

Our Goals

The goals of the March of Dimes North Carolina Preconception Health Campaign are to reduce infant mortality, birth defects, premature birth, and chronic health conditions in women, while also aiming to increase intended pregnancies. Our objectives are to improve women’s wellness, improve reproductive outcomes, and reduce health disparities. Because overweight/obesity impact so many health outcomes, the Campaign decided to focus its initial efforts on promoting healthy weight for women, in addition to promoting folic acid.
Over half of North Carolina women are overweight or obese. Overweight/obesity is linked to negative health conditions for both the mother and her future child. While there are many programs in the state as well as nationally that address healthy weight, very few of them actually focus on women of reproductive age. The Campaign believes that our experience reaching women in this group, as well as those who influence them, will allow us to achieve success with this new campaign.
We also seek to achieve the following objectives: 
  • Reduce the number of pregnancies affected by neural tube defects in North Carolina by increasing the daily consumption of multivitamins with folic acid 
  • Encourage women of childbearing age to take multivitamins with the recommended daily amount of folic acid every day, making the habit a community norm 
  • Persuade women’s health care providers to educate their patients on the importance of taking multivitamins with adequate amounts of folic acid each day 
  • Coordinate our efforts with the North Carolina Birth Defects Registry and evaluate them on a regular basis 
  • Advocate for favorable health policies and adequate Campaign resources 
  • Educate males and females about the importance of having a reproductive life plan

Our Partners

Partnerships between various agencies and individuals are vital to the Campaign’s success. Working together, we can achieve our goals while serving as part of a larger public health movement promoting healthy behaviors for women throughout their lives. 
The ongoing success of our efforts is due in no small part to the active involvement and continuing collaboration of partners such as: 
  • March of Dimes
  • North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation
  • North Carolina Birth Defects Monitoring Program
  • Fullerton Genetics Center at Mission Hospitals
  • Women’s Health Branch, Division of Public Health, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services 
  • National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • UNC Center for Maternal and Infant Health
  • Crittenden Advertising
  • North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics
  • National Council on Folic Acid
  • National Birth Defects Prevention Network
  • Department of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Our Executive Committee

We have a diverse, dedicated and active Executive Committee that meets quarterly to direct the work and assess the effectiveness of our ongoing efforts on behalf of the women and children of North Carolina.


Maggie Tomei – Crittenden Advertising



Executive Committee

Tara Bristol, MA – March of Dimes North Carolina Chapter  

Lucy Calhoun, RN – Rutherfordton Hospital  

Jerry Hankerson, Sr. – Women’s Health Branch, NC Division of Public Health   

Katherine Harmsen, MA – North Carolina Birth Defects Monitoring Program, State Center for Health Statistics  

Jeannine M. Herrick, MPH – At-large representative

Karla Kreblein, MA – North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation   

Heidi Krowchuk, PhD, RN, FAAN – University of North Carolina at Greensboro   

Alvina Long Valentin, RN, MPH – Women’s Health Branch, NC Division of Public Health   

Judy Major, MPH – Fullerton Genetics Center at Mission Hospitals   

Lisa Richardson, MS, RD, LDN – Duke University, Evidence-Based Practice Implementation Center 

Jennifer Stock, BS - North Carolina Birth Defects Monitoring Program, State Center for Health Statistics  

Sarah Verbiest, MPH, MSW – UNC Center for Maternal and Infant Health

If you are interested in serving on our Executive Committee, please contact Kweli Rashied Henry, MPH, at or call 919-424-2158.
Revised: June 12, 2014

This web site is designed for informational use only; it is not designed to give advice, diagnose, cure or treat any medical condition you may have. If you have any questions about your health, please contact your health care provider.