Newborn Foundation Hosts Annual Awards Gala

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar honored: More than $220,000 raised to combat newborn mortality 

The Newborn Foundation, a global nonprofit leveraging technology innovation to improve outcomes and access to care for newborns, hosted its 3rd Annual Awards Gala on Saturday, October 15 at the International Market Square in Minneapolis. Dedicated to combating newborn mortality and connecting fragile babies with medical care, the event also honored the work of clinicians, public health and policy officials for their efforts to improve maternal, newborn and child health in the U.S. and internationally.

Among the highlights was the presentation of the distinguished Hubert H. Humphrey “Dawn of Life” Award, presented to Sen. Amy Klobuchar for her leadership role in supporting both technology innovation and maternal and child policy in Congress. Other awards presented included the Dr. Ted Thompson Visionary Award presented to pediatric cardiologist Dr. Jamie Lohr, University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital; and the R. Rodney Howell Award for Excellence in Newborn Health presented to geneticist Dr. Susan Berry, University of Minnesota.

The evening featured the Newborn Foundation’s strong China program partnerships with the Children’s Hospital of Fudan University (Shanghai), The First Hospital of Lanzhou University, The China office for Maternal and Child Health, Sichuan University and Mianyang Central Hospital in Sichuan Province. An international delegation of experts from China and the United Kingdom were present at the gala, as a follow-up to the Newborn Health Innovation Forum, co-convened by the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, the Pediatric Device Innovation Consortium, the Children’s Hospital of Fudan University on Friday, October 14 at the University of Minnesota. The forum was the first to bring together newborn health experts to establish a formal Newborn Translational Research pipeline supporting collaborative projects between Minnesota and China.

Dr. Huang Guoying, president of the Children’s Hospital of Fudan University was the recipient of the Eve Global Innovation Award, for his partnership with the Newborn Foundation and his exemplary leadership in ensuring neonatal research is translated into improved care and outcomes for babies within China and across borders. 

WCCO’s Kim Johnson and Kylie Bearse served as emcees for the evening’s agenda, which featured special guests including the internationally-acclaimed Minnesota Boychoir, 16-year-old congenital heart disease survivor and musician, Maddie Bitzer, and The Current / Transmission DJ Jake Rudh, in addition to state dignitaries and families having undergone newborn health challenges.

More than $220,000 was raised during the event. Proceeds will fund domestic and international research and field programs that develop and deploy technologies, education and training to improve early diagnosis and access to quality care for newborns. 

“This event marks a pivotal point in the organization’s work to end preventable newborn deaths and improve health outcomes for babies in the U.S. and around the world,” said Annamarie Saarinen, co-founder and CEO of the Newborn Foundation. “The Newborn Foundation reached many milestones over the past year, including its first grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; a Global Innovation Fund grant to help expand the BORN Project, our newborn pulse oximetry screening project in rural China; creation of a prototype for automating newborn and pediatric echocardiography, and introduction of the SHINE Act in Congress to support the public health component of newborn heart (CCHD) screening across the United States.”

For the second year, the acclaimed The Oceanaire Seafood Room generously provided a gourmet culinary experience for the event. Corporate supporters and sponsors include Masimo, the NFL Alumni Association, the United Nations Foundation, Ainsley Shea, Lifetime Fitness, University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, Recombinetics, OZ Systems, Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine, WCCO-TV, NBC, Sears Imported Autos, Julian Design, the Patient Safety Movement Foundation, Twin Cities Jaguar/ Land Rover, and UnitedHealth Group.

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