To ensure the health of America’s neighborhoods and communities, it is vital to understand the scope of the nation's most pressing health challenges. The CDC Foundation is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to release a first-of-its-kind data analysis for the 500 largest American cities, and the census tracts within cities, to identify, analyze and report data for a select number of chronic disease measures.
The 500 Cities Project will help inform the development and implementation of effective and targeted public health prevention activities in many of America’s cities. The CDC Foundation announced the launch of this project in February 2016.
A new, interactive web application is also now available for users to view and explore city-and neighborhood-level health data for America’s 500 largest cities. The web application enables public health professionals, policymakers, and researchers to see and use the data to effectively address and target interventions to specific areas where they are most needed. The interactive mapping application enables users to zoom in to their neighborhood and look at local data compared with data for the entire city.
This data will focus on conditions, behaviors and risk factors that have a substantial impact on public health.
For new parents the world over, the birth of a healthy child is a joy they remember throughout their lives. For some, however, that joy is tempered by serious health problems that arise from disorders like phenylketonuria, sickle cell disease or hypothyroidism. Fortunately for thousands of babies born in the United States each year, those treatable diseases are caught and diagnosed within days of birth, thanks in large part to the work of the newborn screening laboratory program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Newborn screening is the most successful lab-based prevention program in public health,” says Dr. Robert Vogt, principal investigator of the Newborn Screening Translation Research Initiative (NSTRI).
Virtually all babies born in the United States are tested for an array of treatable, but potentially deadly, conditions within 48 hours of birth. Blood samples collected by a simple “heel stick” are sent to one of more than 70 newborn screening labs across the country for analysis. Testing in these labs is routinely evaluated by CDC’s Newborn Screening and Molecular Biology Branch, which operates the only comprehensive program in the world for assuring the quality of newborn screening tests. The reach of the CDC program also extends to over 450 labs in more than 60 countries.
Currently, early detection by laboratory tests helps prevent death and disability from dozens of disorders. Early identification of these disorders gives babies a healthy start and dramatically reduces health care costs associated with treatment of lifelong debilitating conditions.
For the future, the CDC research group is working to identify new tests to add to the mix. Dr. Vogt boils down the research conducted by his program into a simple summary saying, “The purpose of this group is to anticipate screening tests that are not now being conducted.”
The CDC Program was instrumental in expanding the recommended panel of newborn screening tests to include Severe Combined Immune Deficiency (SCID), known more commonly as the Boy in the Bubble Syndrome. The screen is now being piloted at labs in Wisconsin and Massachusetts, and thus far more than 200,000 babies have been screened for the syndrome. The first newborn with SCID was identified just this year. The screening test should soon become routine throughout the United States, adding yet another layer of protection for newborns.
Gathered with his research colleagues near their lab at CDC, Dr. Vogt is quick to recognize the role of the CDC Foundation. “We now have five major areas of investigation that are supported in one way or another by the CDC Foundation,” he says. “In some cases it is direct funding support and in other cases there are partnerships that are in-kind. We use the CDC Foundation to ‘do more, faster.’ That motto really applies.”
by David Snyder