September 2019: Newborn Screening Awareness Month

WHEREAS, in 1965, the collaboration of Dr. K. Stanley Read and Dr. Richard Allen established state laboratory testing methods and protocols for referral, diagnosis, and medical management of phenylketonuria in Michigan; and,

WHEREAS, today, the Michigan Newborn Screening Program has expanded bloodspot screening to over 50 conditions for which early diagnosis and intervention can result in the difference between health and disability or even life and death; and,

WHEREAS, the most commonly identified conditions include congenital hypothyroidism, sickle cell disease, and cystic fibrosis; and,

WHEREAS, tremendous advancements in tandem mass spectrometry and the characterization of many rare genetic diseases have propelled inclusion of many metabolic conditions in routine screening by the State Laboratory that would not have been possible even 20 years ago; and,

WHEREAS, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has screened more than 7.2 million infants and identified over 6,600 children with a condition on the newborn screening bloodspot panel, giving them the opportunity for early treatment; and,

WHEREAS, Michigan’s primary care providers, hospital staff, couriers, and public health professionals collaborate to support a system of care that educates Michigan parents about newborn screening and ensures all Michigan newborns are given the opportunity to benefit from timely screening; and,

WHEREAS, follow-up coordinating centers connect families with pediatric

sub-specialists to provide rapid diagnosis and tailored medical care to improve the lives of the state’s newest residents; and,

WHEREAS, the Michigan BioTrust for Health, with collaboration from scientific experts and a Community Values Advisory Board, promotes health research using stored residual newborn screening blood spots, while improving individual decision-making and public transparency to further increase the public health benefit of newborn screening; and, 

WHEREAS, we join with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, families, advocacy organizations, and the health care community across the state to recognize more than 50 years of newborn screening accomplishments and promote greater awareness so every baby born in Michigan is given the opportunity to benefit from improved health outcomes through newborn screening;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim September 2019 as Newborn Screening Awareness Month in honor of over 50 years of this life-saving public health program.