The SPIRAL logo was created by Shirley Jenkins Vermace, an artist from Decorah, Iowa. The original print, from which the SPIRAL logo was derived, was created in the summer of 1988, when Iowa was affected by an extreme drought. At this time, Shirley found herself surrounded by many pregnant women, which inspired her to create an abstract painting of three women, two of which were pregnant. This print was given as a thank-you gift to her OB/GYN, Dr. Jane Engeldinger (wife of SPIRAL researcher Dr. Michael O’Hara). The SPIRAL logo was created by enhancing Shirley’s original artwork to bring the pregnant women into greater relief and to incorporate a spiral within the womb of one of the original pregnant figures. The spiral represents that natural disasters are not isolated events, but rather occur continuously around the world and vary in magnitude; the magnitude of stress invoked by a natural disaster varies within each pregnant woman; and furthermore, that prenatal maternal stress can influence the development of the fetus and child.
Shirley was enthusiastic to collaborate with SPIRAL due to her own exposure to prenatal maternal stress. Due to the immense flooding of Iowa in 1993, Shirley was displaced from her home and her office while pregnant with her second child. After briefly moving to Alabama, Shirley now resides in Iowa with her husband and three children.