Birth defects are a common, costly and critical public health topic affecting one in every 33 children born in the United states each year. Utah represents the highest birth rate in the nation at 14.9 per 1,000 birth which offers a unique resource for the study of birth defects. The Utah Birth Defect Network (UBDN) is a statewide population-based active surveillance system within the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) monitoring all pregnancy outcomes for birth defects. The UBDN utilizes case ascertainment, referral and outreach, epidemiologic analysis, and Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD) screening to function effectively and address the mandated reporting rule (Utah Birth Defects and Critical Congenital Heart Disease Reporting Rule R398-5) under Utah Administrative Code.
The UBDN priority is to improve birth defect and CCHD surveillance in Utah and the ability to respond rapidly to emerging threats to mothers, pregnancies and infants. The proposed project will 1) Improve UBDN surveillance capacity to provide the Center for Disease Control (CDC) birth defect data annually and increase the ability to respond to emerging threats of mothers, pregnancies and infants, 2) Establish targets for data completeness, accuracy and timeliness to ensure improved data quality, 3) Increase Utah’s ability to contribute to multi-state data projects increasing scientific understanding of birth defects, 4) Increase general knowledge of birth defect prevention throughout the state of Utah, 5) Disseminate birth defect data on individuals affected by birth defects throughout Utah and 6) Report quality surveillance data in a timely manner for all CCHDs.
Completing the stated objectives will be beneficial for Utah in furthering knowledge and understanding of birth defects and coordinating with the CDC and other states in research and prevention strategies.