In 1963, Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to mandate statewide newborn screening to promote early detection and treatment of rare disorders that can threaten the health and development of newborns.
At a State House ceremony yesterday, I was delighted to join Executive Office of Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz, UMass Medical School Executive Vice Chancellor Joyce Murphy, and leaders from across the commonwealth’s public health, scientific and medical communities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Massachusetts Newborn Screening Program – a true public health success story which has quietly protected millions of our youngest residents.
Over the past 20 years, Massachusetts has screened more than 2.6 million newborns, with more than 2,800 babies testing positive for conditions that could harm their health.
The program is the result of a remarkable partnership between the Department of Public Health who created the Newborn Screening Program, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School who administers the program on behalf of DPH.
The program is also a testament to the unswerving commitment of a wide variety of scientists, doctors, ethicists and public health professionals who have provided expert guidance to the program since its inception.
Today’s event was also a wonderful opportunity to hear a personal story from a young woman named Madeleine Stout whose life may have been very different had her condition not been detected and successfully treated because of a newborn screening test in Massachusetts.
To recognize both Massachusetts’ leadership and the importance of newborn screening to the families of the commonwealth, Governor Deval Patrick has proclaimed the week of December 9-13 as Newborn Screening Awareness Month.
Happy 50th anniversary to newborn screening in Massachusetts – and here’s to the next 50 years!
Tags: 50th Anniversary of Newborn Screening Program, Commonwealth Medicine, Department of Public Health, DPH, genetic screening, healthy kids, Newborn Screening Program, Prevention, UMass Medical School
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