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Message from the Director

Director Coleen A. Boyle, PhD, MS (Hyg)Message from the Director Icon

It is with great pride and accomplishment that I present to you CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD), year in review entitled: From Saving Babies to Protecting People: NCBDDD Making a Difference Across the Lifespan. This report highlights many notable achievements. I am proud to celebrate these achievements and continued progress in the pursuit of improved programs, research, and knowledge for the millions of Americans who live with birth defects, disabilities, and blood disorders.

2017 marked an incredibly active year for CDC and NCBDDD. In addition to the many accomplishments featured in this report, I would like to highlight additional activities for which we are proud:

Our Vision: Babies are born healthy. Children reach their potential. And everyone thrives.

Development of New Strategic Plan: The mission of NCBDDD is to: save babies by studying and addressing the causes of birth defects; help children reach their potential by understanding developmental disabilities; reduce complications of blood disorders; and improve the health of people living with disabilities. To help guide this critical work over the coming years, we embarked on a process to complete our strategic plan. NCBDDD’s strategic plan serves as a detailed road map for our organization, marking the health impacts we anticipate achieving in the coming years, and at a high-level, describing how we plan to do this. We are very excited to share our plan and welcome you to take a moment to review it and share within your networks.

Continued Response to Zika Virus: While CDC deactivated its Emergency Operations Center for Zika in September, 2017, NCBDDD’s charge to protect mothers and babies from the virus and other emerging threats persists. Until we have a effective vaccine against Zika, it will continue to be a critical public health threat. We have learned a lot in a short amount of time through our surveillance systems and taken critical public health action. As we learn more about Zika, our concerns grow. Many questions remain about the full impact of the virus on children and the types of services needed to care for infants with congenital Zika syndrome are complex. Zika deserves our constant vigilance–for pregnant women, children and families.

As you read the report, I hope you will gain insight into the breadth and depth of our activities. As the director of NCBDDD, I pledge to continue the quest for greater knowledge, better programs, and enhanced capacity on behalf of every child and adult impacted by a birth defect, developmental or physical disability, blood disorder, or any obstacle keeping them from optimal growth and development. They deserve to see the promises of tomorrow become today’s reality. The accomplishments over the past year and the work ahead depends on the support and contributions of our partners and dedicated staff. I am immensely grateful to those individuals and partners whose energy and support sustain us.

Thank you and I look forward to another amazing year at NCBDDD.

Coleen A. Boyle, PhD, MS (Hyg)