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Newborn Screening Cooperative Agreement Awards $3.4 Million to APHL

SILVER SPRING, MD -- (Marketwired) -- 06/25/14 -- The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) has been awarded a four-year cooperative agreement of up to $3.4 million by the Genetic Services Branch of the US Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to maintain and manage the Newborn Screening Technical assistance and Evaluation Program (NewSTEPs). In partnership with the Colorado School of Public Health (CSPH), NewSTEPs provides quality improvement initiatives for newborn screening systems, a data repository and technical and educational resources to state newborn screening programs and stakeholders.

Named one of the ten greatest public health achievements of the 20th century, newborn screening is routinely performed in the US on over four-million newborns annually and saves or improves the lives of more than 12,000 babies. For babies who test positive for one of the genetic, metabolic, heart or hearing conditions, newborn screening can prevent serious health problems or even death.

"Our primary goal is to protect the health of babies born in the US," said Jelili Ojodu, director of the Newborn Screening and Genetics Program at APHL and director of NewSTEPs. "NewSTEPs will allow us to provide states with robust and comprehensive tools that will allow them to improve the efficiency of the services they provide to newborns."

NewSTEPs helps facilitate newborn screening initiatives and improve programmatic outcomes to enhance the quality of the newborn screening system.

"We are looking forward to working closely with APHL and other partners to improve this vital public health service," said Dr. Marci Sontag, associate professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health and associate director of NewSTEPs. "Newborn screening saves lives -- that's what it is all about."

The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) works to strengthen laboratory systems serving the public's health in the US and globally. APHL's member laboratories protect the public's health by monitoring and detecting infectious and foodborne diseases, environmental contaminants, terrorist agents, genetic disorders in newborns and other diverse health threats.

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