Announcing the 2023 National NICU Hero Contest

September 12, 2023

NICU Hero contest Hand to Hold

Hand to Hold’s NICU Hero Award Contest celebrates NICU professionals across the US during NICU Awareness month

AUSTIN – Hand to Hold, a national nonprofit that provides early intervention mental health support for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) parents before, during and after a NICU stay, has announced its 2023 NICU Hero Contest. The 2nd annual contest opens at 9:00 a.m. (CST) on September 12, 2023 and closes on September 21, 2023 at 10:00 p.m. (CST).

All NICU parents are welcome to nominate their NICU Hero and celebrate how they made a difference in their NICU journey. The contest is free to enter and  has both individual and team award categories. The individual award will honor a NICU nurse, neonatologist, social worker, or other NICU professional currently supporting parents in a NICU. The NICU team award recognizes an entire NICU department. The nominees for both should exemplify compassion and kindness, while providing excellent medical care.


The winning NICU Hero will be recognized by a national and global virtual audience of NICU parents and professionals at the 2023 Hand to Hold National NICU Mental Health Conference taking place November 1-2, 2023. The individual winner will enjoy fun prizes including self-care, wellness and relaxation at their favorite local spa, beauty salon or wellness studio, and a personalized award. The winning NICU team will receive a Hero celebration for the hospital NICU team and a team award plaque to hang in their NICU.

Nominations and voting are open from September 12 through September 21, 2023. Voting is open to the public, and those NICU parents who submit a nomination are encouraged to share it with friends, family and colleagues.

“As a champion for NICU parents since 2011, Hand to Hold knows that compassionate and equitable care builds trust, calms anxiety and can improve outcomes for families,” said Kelli Kelley, Hand to Hold Founder and CEO. “We’re honored to recognize these exemplary NICU Heroes from across the country and celebrate them on a national stage.”

The Hand to Hold NICU Hero contest was created to honor NICU professionals and hospital teams, while raising funds to ensure support services remain free to all NICU and bereaved families.

Learn more about the contest: Hand to Hold NICU Hero Contest 

Eligibility to nominate a Hero:

  • All NICU parents (past and present)
  • Open to U.S. residents

Entry Categories:

  • NICU Professional (Individual award)
  • NICU Team (Team award for the NICU department at a single hospital)


  • Hand to Hold®, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit will use 100% of the donate-to-vote proceeds to directly support NICU families. Each vote is $1.
  • All votes are tax deductible
  • There is no limit to the number of times a person can vote and all are welcome to vote
  • Learn more about prizes for nominating NICU parent and NICU Heroes: 2023 NICU Hero Prizes


 About Hand to Hold®:

Hand to Hold® is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) that is dedicated to providing personalized emotional support, education and community to parents who have had children in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or the loss of a baby. Hand to Hold® is removing barriers for support by growing a hybrid model of in-person and virtual support in service to their mission. Support is provided in English or Spanish to parents at no cost to families, and all support is designed with the emotional, physical and social needs of the NICU parent. For more information, visit


1 Source: National Perinatal Information System/Quality Analytic Services; Prepared by March of Dimes Perinatal Data Center, 2011.