News and Events

September is Newborn Screening Awareness Month

The newborn screening program identifies newborns who may have a genetic, metabolic, or other congenital disorder that may not be apparent at birth. If left untreated, newborn screening conditions may cause serious illness, developmental disability, intellectual impairment or death.

Each year in Alabama, approximately 200 babies are identified with a condition detected through newborn screening, The screening allows treatment to be initiated within the first few weeks of life, treating many of the complications associated with newborn screening disorders such as sickle cell disease and cystic fibrosis. 

In Alabama, the newborn screen includes the bloodspot screening, hearing screening, and pulse oximetry screening. The Alabama newborn screening panel includes 31 of 35 disorders recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Here are some great resources:

Information About Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has activated a statewide informational hotline at 1-800-270-7268. Telephone calls are answered from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily. In addition, a toll-free phone line is available for information about COVID-19 testing sites and hours of operation at 1-888-264-2256. Callers will be asked for their zip code to help locate the site nearest them. For additional information and resources, please visit Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Please see the following links for more information and resources on COVID-19:

Alabama Hospitals Recognized

Congratulations to the following hospitals for their outstanding effort in newborn screening specimen collection. They had 5% or less unsatisfactory newborn screening specimens during the month shown below. Their efforts set the gold standard for other facilities participating in newborn screening across the state.

May 2020

  • Athens Limestone Hospital
  • Decatur Morgan Parkway Campus
  • D.W.McMillan Hospital
  • Helen Keller Hospital
  • Huntville Hospital
  • Jackson Hospital
  • Russell Medical Center
  • UAB Hospital
  • Walker Baptist Medical Center

June 2020

  • Gadsden Regional Medical Center
  • Helen Keller Hospital
  • Jackson Hospital
  • Marshall Medical Center North
  • Monroe County Hospital
  • Russell Medical Center

In addition, the following hospital was within 1-2% of reaching their goal:

May 2020

  • Northport Medical Center
  • Madison Hospital
  • Marshall Medical Center North

June 2020

  • Coosa Valley Medical Center
  • Cullman Regional Medical Center
  • Huntsville Hospital
  • UAB Hospital

Newborn Screening Mobile Applications Available

There are several free mobile applications available for newborn screening providers and parents. One app available for medical providers is through the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG). This app allows users to access ACT Sheets, which provide short term actions a health care provider should follow in communicating with the family and determining the appropriate steps in the follow-up of an infant with a positive newborn screening result.

Another new mobile app is available and provided as a free service by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta to aid health care professionals in screening for critical congenital heart disease. A website version of this application is available at Pulse Ox Tool. The algorithm in this application is used under a license granted by the American Academy of Pediatrics and was recommended by Kemper et al. in "Strategies for Implementing Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease." (Pediatrics.2011;128(5):e1259-67). This is the same algorithm recommended in Alabama and found in the Hospital Guidelines for Implementing Pulse Oximetry Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease. These general clinical guidelines are provided for use by healthcare professionals in evaluating treatment options. They are not a substitute for individual professional judgment.Grayson Ethridge

Family Highlight: Newborn Screening Saved My Baby's Life

First time parents Kyle and Leslie Ethridge had an uneventful pregnancy and birth of their first child Grayson in December 2012. Grayson was evaluated by his pediatrician after delivery, and the new parents were told everything was fine. The night before they were scheduled to leave the hospital the nurse took Grayson for routine vital signs and also performed the pulse oximetry screen, which revealed a 97% oxygen saturation in his right hand and a 87% oxygen saturation in his foot.

Grayson was quickly transferred to Baptist Medical Center South and then flown to Birmingham for open heart surgery. He was diagnosed with ventricular/atrial septal defect and an interrupted aortic arch. Grayson sees a pediatric cardiologist on a regular basis and has had superb news every visit. According to Mrs. Ethridge, "Family, friends, and faith kept us sane during this trial. We have come out stronger and are very proactive in raising awareness for pulse ox screening to detect congenital heart defects. Newborn screening saved my baby's life."

Alabama Newborn Screening Conferences

Newborn Screening Newsletters

Although there are no new issues available, you may view all past issues of the Newborn Screening Newsletter.

Page last updated: September 4, 2020