MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

March of Dimes celebrates polio vaccine anniversary

The March of Dimes recently celebrated the creation of the Salk polio vaccine in 1955 and other advancements in medical research over the course of the past 75 years.

"My father was committed to his research and was forever grateful to the March of Dimes for funding and believing in his work," Peter L. Salk, president of the Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation and the eldest son of Dr. Jonas Salk, said Friday at a commemorative event. "I'm pleased that the March of Dimes continues to honor this day, which reminds us of the important contributions that can result from collaborative efforts for the benefit of human health on a global scale."

The March of Dimes was founded by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938 in the effort to cure polio. Roosevelt's vision was realized between 1955 and 1962, with the development of the Salk vaccine and the oral Sabin vaccine.

The polio virus occurs naturally, yet with these medical advancements has been eliminated entirely from the western hemisphere of the world. Medical organizations are now working together to eliminate the existence of the disease worldwide.

Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes, acknowledged the development of vaccinations against polio, whooping cough, influenza, whooping cough and measles. She urged the community at-large to receive immunizations to prevent life-threatening diseases.

The March of Dimes has also supported advancements in technology to develop medical breakthroughs to prevent birth defects, infant mortality and preteen pregnancy. Some of the advancements it supported included the identification of the double helix structure, newborn screening for intellectual disabilities and folic acid awareness.

The March of Dimes is currently working to reduce premature birth, which affects nearly 500,000 babies in the U.S. and 15 million worldwide. It also established a research center at Stanford University School of Medicine to access the best minds possible to accomplish its current goals.