APHL’s Newborn Screening and Genetics in Public Health Program strengthens the role of public health laboratories in genetics testing and designs strategies to address changes in the field of newborn screening testing. The program develops and recommends positions statements related to newborn screening and genetics to the association, and provides input to the Newborn Screening Quality Assurance Program on quality control and proficiency testing issues relevant to newborn screening laboratories across the globe.

The program also interacts with state, federal and association partners to implement national recommendations on newborn screening and genetics testing by participating on national and federal committees.

As states adopt new tests for additional diseases, APHL will continue to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to broaden its services to assure the quality of test results and the continuity of testing during emergencies.

NewSTEPs

The Newborn Screening Technical assistance and Evaluation Program (NewSTEPs), funded through a cooperative agreement to APHL by the Genetic Services Branch of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), provides quality improvement initiatives, an innovative data repository and technical resources for newborn screening programs.

Public Health Laboratories and Newborn Screening

Newborn screening—recognized as the largest and most successful disease prevention system in the US—is the practice of testing every newborn for certain harmful or potentially fatal conditions that are not otherwise apparent at birth. Newborn screening tests take place before the newborn leaves the hospital and identifies serious, life-threatening conditions before symptoms begin. Although such conditions are usually rare, they can affect a newborn’s normal physical and mental development. Early detection is crucial to prevent death or a lifetime of severe disabilities.

Public health laboratories test 97% of the more than four million newborns born in the US each year. They play a vital role in ensuring that every newborn’s health is protected with timely, accurate screening.

Read more about public health laboratories’ role in newborn screening on the APHL blog.​