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"We Were There" - Folic Acid

Folic Acid, Birth Defects and Perspectives from China

Header image for the third installment of On Wednesday, November 30th the “We Were There” lecture series presented “Folic Acid, Birth Defects and Perspectives from China,” at the Roybal Campus, Alexander D. Langmuir Auditorium.

Welcome to “We Were There,” a quarterly lecture series featuring past and present CDC researchers as they share their personal perspectives on historically important, CDC-led epidemiologic and laboratory investigations. This series will provide insight into the rich past of CDC and give the audience a chance to hear first-hand accounts from the responders.

Twenty-four years ago, the US Public Health Service recommended that women of childbearing age should daily consume 400 micrograms of folic acid to help prevent certain neural tube defects, namely spina bifida and anencephaly. CDC played a leading role in the making of that important recommendation. Joining us for this special presentation were R. J. Berry, MD, MPHTM and Godfrey P. Oakley, Jr. MD, MSPM, who will discuss how they made one of the greatest discoveries in the history of public health. After their presentations, Deborah Kowal, MA, PA and David Erickson, DDS, PhD will join them to discuss how this investigation changed the course of public health history, and what it means for the future of birth defects in the United States and across the globe. All speakers will participate in a question and answer discussion.


Photo of We Were There event poster featuring photographs and signatures of all 4 speakers.
  • SPEAKER BIOS – Biographies for the 3 speakers and 3 discussants featured during the second “We Were There” lecture, “Folic Acid, Birth Defects and Perspectives from China”


  • EVENT POSTER – Poster signed by the 4 speakers: R.J. Berry, MD, MPHTM, Godfrey P. Oakley, Jr. MD, MSPM, Deborah Kowal, MA, PA and David Erickson, DDS, PhD.


  • EVENT HANDOUT – MMWR’s role in informing and evaluating public health policy.
  • Page last reviewed: October 11, 2017
  • Page last updated: June 15, 2017
  • Content source:
    • Office of the Associate Director for Science