Message from the Director


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As 2020 comes to a close, I am happy to share with you the 2020 Fiscal Year Annual Report for the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD). It is my honor to have joined leadership at CDC this year and specifically here at NCBDDD. The Annual Report includes notable programmatic accomplishments, impactful scientific publications, and our vision for the future. Read the Report to celebrate and learn more about the myriad of substantive ways that NCBDDD, along with our partners, has made a difference in the lives of those we serve.

My “north star” and passion has always been children and families—making sure every family has the best opportunity for health and well-being. I have met so many of our partners in these first few months and am humbled by the commitment, passion, and expertise they all bring to our work. Albeit virtual, these meetings have served as an important reminder that we are all in this work together.

This year, many NBCDDD leaders are continuing to work alongside our colleagues as part of the response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Pivoting from their “day job” to long hours and new responsibilities, I am proud and impressed with the professionalism and depth of service provided. Just as importantly, many NCBDDD staff have picked up new and additional duties to ensure the work of the Center continues and that we continue to move the agenda for babies, children, and people with blood disorders and disabilities forward. Our Center staff have navigated virtual work environments and accompanying stresses and challenges while still keeping our Center’s mission and public service front and center. An example of how this is happening in real-time is the partnership of the Center with the COVID-19 Response Team, following pregnant women and their babies to determine the impact of a COVID-19 infection on long-term outcomes.

I am gratified by the exceptional work that NCBDDD is doing and I look forward to our continued partnership so that together we can meet the Center’s goals of saving babies, helping children, protecting people with blood disorders, and improving the health of those with disabilities.

To a healthy and fruitful year.


Karen Remley signature

Karen Remley, MD, MBA, MPH, FAAP
Director, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention