SILVER SPRING, MD--(Marketwire - May 31, 2012) - The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) and the Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado, will develop and manage the Newborn Screening Technical Assistance and Evaluation Program (NewSTEPs) under a five-year cooperative agreement from the Genetics Services Branch of the U.S. Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The award of up to $4.1 million will provide quality improvement initiatives for newborn screening systems, a new data repository, and technical and educational resources to state newborn screening programs and stakeholders.

NewSTEPs project will also rely on relationships with state newborn screening programs, the National Coordinating Center for the Regional Genetic and Newborn Screening Collaboratives, and other partners including the Newborn Screening Clearinghouse, Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Health Resources and Services Administration.

For nearly 50 years, babies born in the United States have been routinely screened by state public health programs for an increasing number of genetic and congenital conditions that are potentially fatal or can cause irreversible disabilities. Of the four million infants tested annually, newborn screening has detected serious conditions in approximately 12,000 babies each year.

"Under NewSTEPs, APHL and the Colorado School of Public Health will work together to strengthen partnerships among governmental and non-governmental health organizations to protect the health of babies born in the U.S.," said Scott J. Becker, executive director, APHL. "States will have access to a robust and dynamic database that will allow them to improve the efficiency of the services they provide to newborns. We are all excited to be a part of it."

Part of the Newborn Screening Technical Assistance and Data Repository Program, NewSTEPs is designed to help facilitate newborn screening initiatives and improve programmatic outcomes and outcomes for newborns, thus improving the overall quality of the newborn screening system. State programs will benefit from the shared resources that NewSTEPs will offer, including data and technical assistance, education and training, policy guidance and program evaluation. NewSTEPs will serve as a central link for access to newborn screening information, data and resources for the country.

"Newborn screening is well recognized as one of our country's largest preventive health systems," said Jelili Ojodu, MPH, director of NewSTEPs and APHL's director of newborn screening and genetics. "We look forward to working with the Colorado School of Public Health, state newborn screening programs, partners and stakeholders on this important project. Newborn screening saves lives -- that's what it is all about."

The Association of Public Health Laboratories is a national nonprofit located in Silver Spring, MD, that is dedicated to working with members to strengthen governmental laboratories with a public health mandate. By promoting effective programs and public policy, APHL strives to provide public health laboratories with the resources and infrastructure needed to protect the health of US residents and to prevent and control disease globally.

Contact Information:

Michelle M. Forman