March of Dimes Celebrates 50 years of Newborn Screening
Danielle Prenevost, March of Dimes, (612) 326-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thousands of babies lives saved and improved through newborn screeningSt. Paul, MN, March 06, 2013
March of Dimes, the leading non-profit organization for maternal and infant health, will mark 50 years of saving and improving the lives of thousands of babies through newborn screening at a special ceremony at the Minnesota State Capitol Friday, March 8, 2013 with the Minnesota Department of Health. At 11:00 am in the Great Hall, March of Dimes volunteer advocate Korissa Olson will join MDH to share her experience when her son Everett’s newborn screening test came back positive for the rare metabolic disorder galactosemia, a disorder that makes him unable to digest the main sugar in any kind of milk, including breast milk. Left untreated, it could result in intellectual disabilities, cataracts and liver failure.
The story of lifesaving newborn screening began when the March of Dimes funded the first newborn screening test for a disease called PKU. March of Dimes grantee Dr. Robert Guthrie developed the first screening test for PKU (phenylketonuria) in 1963, allowing prevention of intellectual disabilities caused by PKU through diet. And through the years, March of Dimes funded the development of three other newborn screening tests.
During the 1990s, March of Dimes volunteers lobbied to make sure these tests were available to all babies. Before that, some states did few tests and some did a lot. A baby might live or die based on what state they were born in. The March of Dimes has worked tirelessly to promote expanded newborn screening programs across the United States at the state level, and to obtain federal guidelines for newborn screening. Newborn screening has improved and saved the lives of countless thousands of affected children.
“We believe that our screening program has been very successful in including tests for serious conditions that make a real difference in the baby's health outcome,” said March of Dimes Government Affairs Committee Chair Donna Zimmerman.
Today, Minnesota is a national leader, screening for more than 50 disorders. This year, March of Dimes volunteers are advocated to expand the Newborn Screening Program in Minnesota to include testing for SCID (Severe Combined Immune Deficiency) and CCHD (Critical Congenital Heart Defects).
For more information on the public celebration of newborn screening March 8 at 11:00 am at the Great Hall of the Minnesota State Capitol, see the news release from the Minnesota Department of Health.
More information on March of Dimes advocacy issues can be found on marchofdimes.com/minnesota. Advocacy is vital to the March of Dimes to advance the mission through public policies, programs and funding. Take action by signing up for our Advocacy Alerts or contacting the Minnesota Director of Program and Government Affairs, Martha Overby, 612-326-9443.
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies®, March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.