Nevada Newborn Screening Program comes home

Newborn Screening Program moves to the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory in Reno

7/31/2014 - By: Anne McMillin
Clinical lab scientist Ernst Benedict Javier, MD, MT(AAB), of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory, prepares newborn babies’ blood spot samples for testing. Photo by Anne McMillin.

The School of Community Health Sciences and the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory, both entities in the University of Nevada, Reno's Division of Health Sciences, will mark the creation of the Nevada Newborn Screening Program in Nevada with an event on Aug. 11 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Center for Molecular Medicine's Lupan Auditorium at the University.

This event celebrates the move of the Nevada Newborn Screening Program to the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory in Reno. Nevada state leaders and university officials will be on-hand at the event to mark the launch of the program in Nevada.

For the past 30 years, this important lab analysis of the required blood work for all Nevada newborns has been performed at the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory. The move to Nevada is recognized as an economic diversification as well as health care benefit for the state, providing high-level employment to the skilled workers needed in the lab.

"The Nevada Newborn Screening Program enhances the capacity of our state to perform sophisticated testing, provides localized, enhanced service to Nevadans and keeps Nevada resources in Nevada," said Trudy Larson, M.D., director of the School of Community Health Sciences and the Newborn Screening Program.

The Nevada State Public Health Laboratory, in conjunction with the School of Community Health Sciences, will be responsible for testing and following an estimated 40,000 newborn babies' blood samples shortly after birth and again at two weeks of age, to screen for approximately 46 disorders each year -- more than 1.8 million tests annually. These tests can save lives and protect against long-term disabilities with early intervention.

The Nevada State Public Health Laboratory becomes one of just five U.S. public health labs that is part of a university, rather than a state health division. Close collaboration with the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health made this transition to the university possible. The program's move to Nevada was made possible, in part, by a generous gift from noted biomedical researcher Mick Hitchcock for the purchase of analytical testing equipment.


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