In 1996, Congress directed CDC to establish the Centers for Birth Defects Research and Prevention (CBDRP) across the country. The Birth Defects Prevention Act in 1998, authorized CDC to:
- Collect, analyze, and make available data on birth defects
- Operate regional centers that will conduct research for the prevention of birth defects
- Provide the public with information about preventing birth defects
The Arkansas Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention (Arkansas Center) was established in 1997. Our center is a collaborative effort of the faculty and personnel from the Arkansas Reproductive Health Monitoring System (ARHMS), University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Arkansas Children’s Research Institute, and the Arkansas Department of Health. The Arkansas Center is one of the ten Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Centers of Excellence for Birth Defects Research and Prevention (CBDRP). The other CDC CBDRPs are located in California, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Utah.
The State of Arkansas provides a unique setting for our center. The population of Arkansas is approximately 2.8 million consisting of a large minority population. Approximately 25% of the state’s birth population is African-American. Hispanics and Asians comprise a small but rapidly growing segment of the state’s population. The state can boast of a centrally located specialized pediatric care health facility with satellite clinics throughout the state.
The Arkansas Center Investigators and staff are:
- Identifying how a woman’s intake of micronutrients and the way in which her body uses folic acid may affect the risk for heart defects
- Investigating how babies’ and parents’ genetic factors may modify risks of birth defects
- Searching for the causes of Trisomy 21 or Down Syndrome
- Studying cost and quality-of-life outcomes of birth defects to inform decisions about the economic value of birth defects prevention
- Exploring options for medical treatment of children with birth defects to provide the best care possible
- Leading the Arkansas Folic Acid Coalition to empower Arkansas women of childbearing age to take daily folic acid to optimize their chance of having healthy babies
The Center’s work touches the lives of many and offers hope for a brighter future.
Arkansas Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention