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Newborn screening began in the United States in the 1960s to test for medical conditions that may not be apparent just by looking at a baby. Finding these conditions soon after birth can help prevent certain serious problems, such as brain damage, organ damage, and even death. The traditional method of newborn screening is bloodspot testing, wherein blood is sent to a lab to be screened for a number of conditions. There is also a newer paradigm of point-of-care newborn screening to test for hearing loss and critical congenital heart defects, conditions that are not identifiable through blood tests.

Both traditional bloodspot screening and the newer point-of-care screening tests share the goals of making sure that newborns are tested for certain potentially life-threatening conditions, and ensuring that providers follow up based on test results. The newer tests, however, do pose some unique challenges for public health. Because these tests take place in the health care setting rather than in a lab, it is difficult to standardize both the implementation of the tests and reporting of the test results. Newborn screening is also mandated by each individual state, so tests required in some states may not be in others.

In this session of Public Health Grand Rounds, you will hear how some states have implemented point-of-care newborn screening and what challenges they have faced in standardizing these tests and tracking test results. Speakers will also discuss how public health partners at all levels can work toward ensuring that every baby is screened.

Beyond the Data

Newborn screening began in the United States in the 1960s to test for medical conditions that may not be apparent just by looking at a baby. Finding these conditions soon after birth can help prevent certain serious problems, such as brain damage, organ damage, and even death.

Presented By

Stuart K. Shapira, MD, PhD
Associate Director for Science
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, CDC
Marci K. Sontag, PhD
Associate Professor of Epidemiology
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Kim Van Naarden Braun, PhD
Epidemiologist, Division of Family Health Services
New Jersey Department of Health
Craig A. Mason, PhD
Professor of Education and Applied Quantitative Methods
University of Maine

Facilitated By

John Iskander, MD, MPH
Scientific Director
Phoebe Thorpe, MD, MPH
Deputy Scientific Director
Susan Laird, MSN, RN
Communications Director

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Continuing Education

This session is available for Continuing Education (CE). Register here using the course information below.

CDC Course Code: PHGR10
CPE UAN (enduring): 0387-0000-16-107-H04-P

For more information, see Grand Rounds Continuing Education.

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  • Page last reviewed: February 28, 2018
  • Page last updated: February 28, 2018
  • Content source:
    • Office of the Associate Director for Science
    • Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication
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