July 17, 2015

NICHQ Tapped for National Collaboration to Improve Newborn Screening

Baby Being Given A Hearing TestNICHQ has been selected to join an unprecedented national collaboration called NewSTEPs 360, which aims to improve newborn screening programs across the nation.

One of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century, newborn screening is a comprehensive system that checks for genetic, metabolic, heart or hearing conditions. Affected infants identified early can receive time-critical treatments in the first days and weeks of life, which can avert serious and sometimes fatal outcomes.

NewSTEPs 360 aims to take a 360 degree view of the newborn screening system to implement novel solutions to reduce delays that may lead to tragic consequences. The initiative will support a unique national collaboration to identify local barriers to timely newborn screening, and then help states to strategize and implement solutions using continuous quality improvement approaches.

“NewSTEPS 360 will be one of the largest collaborations of newborn screening stakeholders ever assembled in our country and NICHQ is honored to be asked to participate,” says NICHQ Senior Director of Programs, Research and Evaluation Marianne McPherson, PhD, MS. “NICHQ has a long history of working to improve newborn hearing screening and we are excited to leverage our experience to help drive significant systems change at the state level.”

The $5.4 million grant is funded by the U.S. Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Maternal and Child Health Bureau and will be led by the Colorado School of Public Health in collaboration with the Association of Public Health Laboratories. In addition to NICHQ the other participating stakeholder organizations are:
  • Newborn Screening Clearinghouse (Baby’s First Test) housed at Genetic Alliance
  • Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)
  • Association of Maternal Child Health Programs (AMCHP)
  • March of Dimes (MOD)
  • National Coordinating Center for Regional Genetics Collaboratives (NCCRGC) housed at the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) 
  • Newborn Screening Translational Research Network (NBSTRN) housed at ACMG 
  • OZ Systems
"We can really shift the field of newborn screening with this project because the NewSTEPs 360 partnerships combined with innovative approaches from state newborn screening programs will provide a catalyst for powerful quality improvement in newborn screening,” said Marci Sontag, PhD, director of NewSTEPs 360 and associate professor of Epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health in a press release.

Learn about NICHQ’s newborn screening efforts at newbornscreening.nichq.org.


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NICHQ is an independent, nonprofit organization working for nearly two decades to improve children’s health. We help organizations and professionals who share this mission make breakthrough improvements so children and families live healthier lives. For more information about NICHQ, go to www.NICHQ.org/about.

If you’d like more information about this topic or to schedule an interview, please call or email Cindy Hutter at chutter@nichq.org or 617-391-2757.