​​​Winter 2017​

Reconsidering the direction of the newborn screening system in a time of rapid change

Photo: Participants at a Newborn Screening meeting discuss issues and concerns affectin​g their programs

​The field of newborn screening (NBS) has greatly expanded in recent years, with the advent of new screening technologies and the addition of many new conditions to the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel. In this time of change, APHL's NewSTEPs (Newborn Screening Technical assistance and Evaluation Program), a collaboration with the Colorado School of Public Health, saw a need for stakeholders to consider the direction of the NBS system. The result was a series of NewSTEPs-sponsored meetings designed to:

  • Strengthen relationships among NBS labs
  • Strengthen relationships between follow-up programs, and
  • Develop the knowledge and skills of NBS specialists and their public health partners.

June 2016—Denver, CO

NewSTEPs, working with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, hosted a meeting to consider issues of timeliness in cystic fibrosis screening and diagnostic testing. State NBS laboratorians and follow-up staff met with their state pulmonologist, many for the first time. These conversations led some states to initiate changes aimed at reducing the time for reporting out NBS results following an abnormal screen.

October 2016—Orlando, FL

NBS short term follow-up coordinators came together for a day of discussion and a half-day with state pulmonologists, who were attending the annual Cystic Fibrosis Foundation conference. NBS staff had a chance to brainstorm with other public health specialists to find ways to improve the timeliness of state NBS systems and address other issues affecting state system performance.

August 2017—Washington, DC region

NBS laboratorians and follow-up staff from across the nation will join clinicians at the Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) National Meeting. The goal is to finalize public health surveillance case definitions and consider strategies to expand the clinical referral network.


NewSTEPs is funded through a cooperative agreement to APHL from the Genetic Services Branch of the Health and Resources Services Administration (HRSA).