By Gwendolyn Turner, VP of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, and Learning & Development.

At Myriad Genetics, we are committed to expanding access to genetic tests to all people in the situations where it matters most.

One of those situations is pregnancy. Expecting mothers and their newborn babies are among the most vulnerable. Here in the United States, maternal mortality rates are significantly higher than in similar countries. There are also significant racial disparities, with Black mothers at increased risk of dying from pregnancy-related causes.

As a Black woman and mother of two boys, I remember actively seeking out a healthcare team that understood my journey, including the social and historical barriers of pregnancy in the Black community. That connection was important to me. When the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sounded the alarm on maternal and fetal mortality rates in the Black community, I was inspired to take action — going beyond my own healthcare journey to try to have a positive impact on others, and to help achieve equity in excellent maternal resources for all.

For me, that led to supporting the March of Dimes, a leading and well-respected organization focused on improving health for mothers and babies. Now, I am proud that Myriad has become an official sponsor of the March of Dimes. Melissa Gonzales, Myriad’s president of women’s health, has been instrumental in bringing the Myriad sponsorship to life – her advocacy and passion for helping mothers and babies in underserved communities led to this powerful partnership. Through this partnership, Myriad has sponsored fundraising walks in four cities, community-based programs to support moms and babies, and a new doula program that will be launched on the East Coast.

We have never created a partnership like this one before, and we are pleased to engage with the March of Dimes to improve the chances of maternal-fetal success. It is a huge initiative to support women’s health — something that has been core to Myriad’s mission since it was founded more than 30 years ago. The March of Dimes is also something in which Myriad’s team strongly believes in, with many other employees personally supporting Myriad’s efforts for years.

One reason Myriad loves March of Dimes is their comprehensive approach. They support women from preconception to after they’ve given birth. Myriad does too, with genetic testing options for carrier screening, which can be performed prior to conception, noninvasive prenatal screening, to be performed during pregnancy, and hereditary cancer risk testing, that can help women understand their risk for certain cancers. There is much to be done to improve the health of mothers and their babies, and genetic testing is one of the many tools that can make a difference.

Most pregnancy-related complications are preventable, and empowering women to be more in control of their healthcare at every step of the journey can help. Myriad is excited to team up with the March of Dimes, which has spent decades taking on the grassroots activities needed to build strong relationships in communities where help is needed most. This includes Black communities where resources, support, and a safe space can make such a difference. Through doula programs, grassroots efforts, and genetic testing, Myriad believes that these collective skills can improve healthcare for moms and babies. We are ready for the challenge!