2009 International Travel Fellowship
Dr. Mei is the chief of the Newborn Screening Quality Assurance Program (NSQAP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Newborn screening is a major public health responsibility, conducted throughout the world to detect treatable, inherited metabolic diseases. These diseases can be managed if diagnosed, but if left untreated, they contribute to considerable morbidity and mortality worldwide. Newborn screening is cost-effective, and with the introduction of multiplex technologies such as tandem mass spectroscopy and microarray DNA tests, more and more disorders are detectable from just a few drops of blood, a subject of particular interest to Dr. Mei. In the area of dried blood spot technologies, NSQAP provides quality assurance services to all U.S. newborn screening laboratories and to more than 470 laboratories in more than 70 countries. The use of tandem mass spectroscopy by public health laboratories has moved this clinical chemistry technology into the realm of population-based screening. Dr. Mei will use the award to promote these clinical chemistry practices for newborn screening in countries that are beginning to implement them. She will visit the World Health Organization in Geneva and travel to Cairo to help Middle Eastern countries establish their programs. The funds will also be used to develop a series of lectures on dried blood spot technologies and newborn screening.