March of Dimes Awards Grant to Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute to Improve the Health of Mothers and Babies

La Jolla, Calif. —The March of Dimes, California Chapter, has awarded a grant to the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute (SWDI) to support an innovative program aimed at reducing the risk of getting diabetes among women who have had gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

The $45,000 grant will go toward Dulce Mothers, a program designed to provide prevention education to high risk women through a series of 12 post-partum behavioral-change classes on nutrition and exercise. This educational program – just one of many offered through SWDI’s Project Dulce community outreach program – will be supported by individual counseling provided by registered dietitians who have diabetes expertise.

“Women who have had gestational diabetes have a 20 to 50 percent chance of developing diabetes in five to 10 years after their pregnancy. These statistics can be dramatically reduced if women adopt healthy lifestyles,” says Dr. Athena Philis-Tsimikas, corporate vice president of the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute. “We believe by promoting healthy behaviors, including healthy eating and physical activity, we can interrupt the cycle of obesity and type 2 diabetes in these families.”

This grant is one of many that the March of Dimes awards in pursuit of its mission to prevent birth defects, infant mortality and premature birth.

“We are grateful to those volunteers who support the March of Dimes by participation in events like March for Babies and who donate in other ways. Their participation makes our work in this area possible,” says Dr. Philis-Tsimikas.

About the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute
The Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute has been a leader in the fight for prevention and a cure for diabetes throughout its 25 year history. Along with clinical research, diabetes education, and basic science research, SWDI is home to Project Dulce, a nationally-recognized diabetes care and education program that serves low-income and ethnic populations throughout San Diego County.

About the March of Dimes
The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes funds programs of research, community services, education, and advocacy to save babies and in 2003 launched a campaign to address premature birth. For more information, visit the March of Dimes Web site at marchofdimes.com or its Spanish language Web site at nacersano.org.

Media Contact: Lisa Ohmstede
Phone: 858-626-7142
Email: ohmstede.lisa@scrippshealth.org