For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Promoting the Successes of Newborn Screening

Michael Yudell with Representative Cruz holding proclamation in Harrisburg.

October 16, 2019

Through an official proclamation signed by Governor Tom Wolf, September was declared Newborn Screening Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness of one of Pennsylvania’s most successful public health efforts – the PA Department of Public Health's Newborn Screening Program.

On September 24th in the Capitol Building in Harrisburg, Michael Yudell, PhD, MPH, professor and chair of Community Health and Prevention at Dornsife and the chair of the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health’s Newborn Screening and Follow Up Technical Advisory Board, joined fellow experts on the Board, community stakeholders, families impacted by the program, and State Representative Angel Cruz of Philadelphia’s District 180, in celebration of this cause.

The program’s goal is to eliminate or reduce mortality, morbidity and disabilities by screening and treating disorders included in the screening panel to ensure babies live as healthy and long of a life as possible. Newborns are screened for 37 different conditions including Phenylketonuria, Sickle Cell Anemia, Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, and Acylcarnitine Disorders.

“All of the tested conditions must be identified and treated soon after birth for babies to have the best shot to thrive,” says Yudell. “If babies are not tested and treatment is delayed, the consequences can be devasting, if not deadly.”

As chair of the board, Yudell has discussed the importance of new House Bill (H.B. 730), authored by Representative Cruz. The bill, which was unanimously voted out of the House Human Services Committee, would strengthen the program on several fronts. It would do this, Yudell says, by expanding “the number of mandated screens to bring Pennsylvania in line with most screening programs across the country and by creating a newborn screening fee to help the program gain financial stability."

“Thousands and thousands of lives have been saved because of a simple and inexpensive test given at birth,” says Yudell. “Public health at its best.”

Learn more about the program.