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Newborn Screening: 50 Years of Saving Babies' Lives

Newborn Screening Saves Lives Click here for high-resolution version

SILVER SPRING, MD--(Marketwire - Jan 4, 2013) - The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) announces a campaign celebrating the 50th anniversary of newborn screening, a public health program that saves or improves the lives of over 12,000 babies born in the United States each year. The year-long campaign, Newborn Screening: 50 Years of Saving Babies' Lives, will honor the life-saving achievements of the last 50 years, promote public awareness of newborn screening and look ahead to future developments in the field.

In 1963, the first state-mandated newborn screening programs began in Massachusetts, Oregon and Delaware. Fifty years later, over 4 million U.S. newborns are screened each year for certain genetic and metabolic conditions, hearing loss, and critical congenital heart disease. For babies who test positive for one of these conditions, rapid identification and treatment can make the difference between health and disability or even life and death.

The Newborn Screening: 50 Years of Saving Babies' Lives campaign will reach out to parents, health care providers, scientists and policy makers to share information about how to protect the health of newborns and explain the value of this public health program, one of the largest and most successful in the nation.

Activities over the next year will include:

  • Two public service announcements on the CBS jumbotron in Times Square in December 2012 and January 2013.
  • A book examining the evolution of newborn screening over the last 50 years, with stories from families affected by newborn screening conditions and portraits of health care providers who support the newborn screening system.
  • Exhibits at state houses and health departments in 12 states, and at conferences of organizations representing medical and scientific professionals with a role in newborn screening.
  • A brochure to help expectant parents and health care providers to better understand what newborn screening is and why it matters to families.
  • An award ceremony and reception in Washington, DC, in September -- National Newborn Screening Awareness Month. The event will recognize leaders from the newborn screening community and families of children with newborn screening conditions.

For more information, visit the Newborn Screening: 50 Years of Saving Babies' Lives campaign website.

The Association of Public Health Laboratories is a national non-profit located in Silver Spring, MD, that is dedicated to working with members to strengthen governmental laboratories with a public health mandate. By promoting effective programs and public policy, APHL strives to provide public health laboratories with the resources and infrastructure needed to protect the health of US residents and to prevent and control disease globally.