The newborn screening community is one of great innovation. In light of this tradition, Baby’s First Test seeks to engage and inspire the community through the Challenge Awards. Genetic Alliance will distribute several Awards up to $20,000 each for organizations to integrate Baby’s First Test into new or existing outreach, engagement, or educational efforts. Each year, Genetic Alliance funds proposals that detail innovative solutions to challenges in the newborn screening system. Genetic Alliance considers proposals submitted from nonprofit organizations, public health groups, research institutions, and private-sector companies.
Pat Blake, from the University of Iowa State Hygienic Laboratory, shared her experience from last year: “As a 2012 recipient of the Baby’s First Test Challenge Award, we expected to complete and promote a video to update hospital staff about blood-spot collections and the role of public health laboratories in newborn screening, which we did. What we did not expect, however, were the long-term benefits from the association with Baby’s First Test and this award.
While the original video was still in production, the project mushroomed. We added addition features, attracted local, state and national media, including television coverage, blog posts and newspaper articles. This year, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of newborn screening in America. Thanks to our association with Baby’s First Test and the Challenge Award, we are well prepared to share the stories of newborn screening and how the Iowa program exemplifies our motto of “Putting Babies First.””