Newborn Foundation Hosts Annual Gala, Presents Awards to Global Advocates and Newborn Screening Leaders

Newborn Foundation Hosts Annual Gala, Presents Awards to Global Advocates and Newborn Screening Leaders

Event raises awareness and funds to combat newborn mortality and improve health outcomes for vulnerable babies

  – The Newborn Foundation, a nonprofit leveraging technology innovation to improve access to critical medical care for newborns hosted the 4th annual Babies and Badasses awards gala on Friday, October 13 at the historic Lumber Exchange building in Minneapolis. Each year, the evening is dedicated to combatting newborn mortality and directly impacting the health outcomes of the youngest, most fragile babies.


WCCO’s Jason DeRusha served as emcee for the evening’s agenda which raised more than $210,000 while highlighting families impacted by newborn health challenges, local and international partners, and 2017 award recipients. The event recognized outstanding leaders in newborn and pediatric health medicine and advocacy, and included a roster of Newborn Health Envoys, experts from the National Institutes of Health in the Philippines, the International Society of Neonatal Screening and the U.S. CDC, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the 2017 cohort of Newborn Health Envoys.

R. Rodney Howell Award for Excellence in Newborn Health presented Dr. Carmencita Padilla, Chancellor, University of Philippines, Manila for international leadership in newborn screening, policy and pediatric health


Eve Innovation Award presented by Dr. Scott Grosse, Senior Health Economist, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Surveillance, NCBDDD for research and leadership improving the health outcomes of newborns with birth defects and other conditions detected through newborn screening


David R Tesch Advocacy Award presented by John and Mollie Stewart, parents of Maggie and founders of We Heart Maggie – for advocacy, awareness and fundraising in support of children diagnosed with Congenital Heart Disease

2017 Newborn Health Envoys were announced for their outstanding advocacy, leadership and contributions to expanding the global network and reach of the Newborn Foundation:

Hollis Meminger, Film and television producer, Presidential Leadership Scholar, and Founder and President, Bridgebuilder Cinematic Arts, Newborn health video storytelling and advocacy

Esera Tuaolo, Former NFL player, Advocate, Vocal Performer, Philanthropist, Chef, Founder of anti-bullying program Hate in Any Form is Wrong, Newborn health advocacy

Marla Lyon, Advocate, Connector, Steering Committee Volunteer

Amy Jeanchaiyaphum, Photographer/photojournalist, Advocate, Volunteer

“These award recipients represent the most talented, most committed individuals dedicated to saving newborn lives and improving the health of the most fragile babies,” said Annamarie Saarinen, Co-founder and CEO of the Newborn Foundation. “We are fortunate to have them as partners in our efforts in the U.S. and around the world. Thanks to them, our supporters and partners, we have been able to expand into 5 additional countries in the past year alone – impacting more than half a million newborns and bringing technologies and programs to 200 medical facilities, health workers and the babies they serve.”


Proceeds from the event fund the Newborn Foundation’s domestic and international health policy work and programs that develop and leverage technologies to improve early detection of health conditions and access to quality care for newborns. 


For the third year in a row, The Oceanaire Seafood Room generously provided a gourmet culinary experience for the event. Special guests also include internationally-recognized, NYC-based string trio Time for Three and The Current / Transmission DJ Jake Rudh.


Based in St. Paul and Washington DC, the Newborn Foundation has policy initiatives and programs in the Philippines, China, India, Mongolia, Pakistan, Peru, Mexico, Bolivia, Ethiopia and Nigeria; and has also worked in Kenya, Morocco, Georgia and Azerbaijan. The foundation’s largest program – the BORN Project expanded to cover more than 550,000 newborns being screened for heart and lung conditions in 10 countries.


Corporate sponsors and partners include Masimo, the NFL Alumni Association, Children’s Hospitals & Clinics of Minnesota, Ainsley Shea, University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, Recombinetics, OZ Systems, Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine, WCCO-TV, the United Nations Foundation, the Patient Safety Movement Foundation, Sears Imported Autos Mercedes-Benz, UnitedHealth Group, Miinome, TR3S Sports, The Pediatric Device Innovation Consortium, Smack Shack, 6Smith, Lionsgate, and Mercy and Unity Hospitals Foundation.

For more information visit (@newbornfdn)


About the Newborn Foundation
The Newborn Foundation develops and leverages technology innovations to early diagnosis and access to care for the most fragile infants. Co-founded by the mother of a child diagnosed and treated for critical congenital heart defects as a newborn, the organization has been integral in the policy development, adoption and implementation of technologies for early detection, intervention and care of the youngest patients, including the landmark addition of universal newborn screening with pulse oximetry for heart defects and other serious health conditions. Internationally, the Newborn Foundation is conducting vital newborn health research projects 10 countries, impacting the hardest to reach and most underserved babies.

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