Local business leaders are working with the March of Dimes to prevent preterm birth to give more babies a healthy start in life.

Little Rock business leader Susan Cohen has taken on the role of 2013 March for Babies Chair. Mrs. Cohen, as Operations Manager of the Injury Prevention Department at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, is also a proud mother making her commitment to the good health of moms and babies personal, and meaningful.

"My work with March for Babies is personal. I am so grateful for my two healthy sons and pray for my future grandchildren’s health," said Cohen. "As a professional, I know that preventing preterm birth can help our state in lowering health care costs. And as a mother, I cannot think of a more important cause for our future than our babies."

Janalyn Williams, State Director for the Arkansas Chapter says, "Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death. One in seven of our babies in Arkansas are born premature, and that’s just not acceptable. It takes leaders in our community working together to ensure moms have healthy pregnancies."

March for Babies is the March of Dimes largest annual fundraiser event. Mrs. Cohen states, "As March for Babies Chair, I will play an integral role in raising awareness and gaining funds to advance the scientific research and educational programs at the core of the March of Dimes’ efforts to prevent preterm birth, birth defects, and infant mortality".

Last year, the Central Arkansas March for Babies raised more than $120,000. Cohen has made the commitment to raise $35,000 in new revenue as part of the 2013 March for Babies total goal of $200,000.

Central Arkansas residents can sign up today at www.marchforbabies.org and start a team with co-workers, family or friends. Last year, more than 600 people attended the event — which will be held this year on April 27.

"I couldn’t be happier having Susan Cohen serving as March for Babies Chair" said Natalie Hedrick, Division Director for the Arkansas March of Dimes Chapter. "I am confident that her drive, passion, and mission-centered heart will bring awareness to our cause and much needed revenue to our bottom line."

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.