Agnes Higgins Award in Maternal-Fetal Nutrition

The Agnes Higgins Award, which recognizes distinguished achievement in research, education or clinical services in the field of maternal-fetal nutrition
agnes higgins

Recognizing distinguished achievement in research, education or clinical services in the field of maternal-fetal nutrition.

The Agnes Higgins Award offers one annual recipient a $5,000 cash award not tied to any research aims. Established in 1980, the Agnes Higgins Award honors the late Agnes Higgins of the Montreal Diet Dispensary for her innovation and years of service to the cause of improved maternal nutrition.  

A pioneer in devising methods of nutritional assessment and counseling, Mrs. Higgins greatly advanced the understanding of healthy eating and nutrition as a crucial factor in healthy pregnancy and prevention of low birthweight. While science, technology and discovery in the maternal health field has progressed and researchers have begun asking ever more nuanced questions, nutrition remains at the forefront of a healthy pregnancy, with an increasing body of data pointing to its interconnectedness to maternal morbidity and mortality, as well as fetal and neonatal health.

Award Amount: $4,000 cash prize, a crystal award commemorating the honor, and a talk at the Pediatric Academic Society annual meeting 

Areas of Research: maternal-fetal nutrition  

Open to: those candidates widely involved in maternal-fetal nutrition through teaching, research and/or clinical practice for at least five years

Note: current cycle is now open

September 15, 2022 - Nomination window opens
November 3, 2022 - Nomination window closes
End of November 2022 - Selection Committee meets
Mid-December 2022 - Awardee is notified 

How to nominate: 
Nominations must come from a previous Agnes Higgins Awardee. No self-nominations are accepted.



To apply for the Agnes Higgins Award, candidates must have been widely involved in maternal-fetal nutrition through teaching, research and/or clinical practice for at least five years; shown a demonstrable effect in raising the quality of maternal-fetal nutritional care through scholarly pursuits, research, education and/or practice; and demonstrated an ability to apply maternal-fetal nutritional standards of practice and/or facilitate their implementation by others.

Nominations are only accepted from previous Agnes Higgins awardees. Self-nominations are not accepted. If a previous awardee would like to submit a nomination, please contact Courtney Dower, Research Grants Administrator, at [email protected] for a nomination package and more details.

March of Dimes works with a variety of researchers from around the world. It is our hope that our awardees view their time as scholars, grantees, or center partners as mutually beneficial, and with value beyond the monetary consideration.

We expect our awardees to attend key meetings that pertain to their award program, or assign an appropriate delegate if not possible. We expect members of our research centers to collaborate scientifically and collegially with other centers or non-profit organizations that are identified during the course of the award period. We expect that our awardees will attend scientific meetings that may be established by MOD and use good faith efforts to help MOD raise funds for future awards through attendance at some events, interviews, or other public-facing opportunities. 

We expect our awardees to make an impact on the thematic areas outlined in our strategic plan as the relate to their awards. To that end, we expect awardees to notify us of publications, posters, and presentations so that we may help to amplify their good work to the public. 
All these things we do so that our awardees can be successful now and in the future… 

Please direct any questions to [email protected]

2021 Award Recipients

2021 Agnes Higgins Award Winner

Dr. Nancy Krebs serves as the Head of the Division of Nutrition and Associate Vice Chair of Academic Affairs in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Making an Impact with Research

March of Dimes research is focused on making an impact NOW to end preventable preterm birth; we do this by approaching research in several key ways. At both the bench and bedside– through descriptive research that aims to characterize and understand the factors that lead to preterm birth and other adverse outcomes; and through work that leads to mitigation and prevention of preterm birth- through therapeutics, diagnostics, and/or policy changes. 

We know that pregnancy is complex. March of Dimes research approach takes a whole-system view and brings the best talent and minds to bear, so we can make a difference in our lifetime. 

Recent examples

  • How are we making a difference: March of Dimes research programs have made discoveries that lead to direct impact on the health of moms, babies, and their families.
  • PRC microbiome studies leading to bedside testing; rapid, low cost predictive testing.
  • Early detection of preeclampsia and other adverse pregnancy outcomes through several approaches, including cell-free RNA, data analytics, and other diagnostic markers.
  • Understanding maternal-infant nutrition, to wit, NEC and how breastfeeding can improve outcomes  

Your Support Helps us Fund Research

There are a number of ways to support research at March of Dimes. Your time – through volunteering at events, raising awareness in your community, and recruiting new and impactful researcher to our network; your attention – by focused attention on how research can impact your community, your country, and the global family; and your resources – by way of funding, access to your network, and getting involved in research directly.

We need your help to continue developing diagnostics, therapeutics, and understanding of the complex factors that lead to preterm birth, maternal and infant morbidity and mortality, and overall adverse outcomes in pregnancy. Moms, Babies, and their Families can’t wait for you to step up and get involved. 

March of Dimes donations go towards lifesaving research and advocating policies that prioritize the health of moms and babies. Your donation to our nonprofit can help improve the lives of moms and babies everywhere. Donate to March of Dimes today.