WASHINGTON – Clinical laboratory testing ensures that thousands of infants receive life-saving treatments every year, yet certain pediatric testing programs could lose their funding if Congress does not finalize the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act of 2013. On October 14, AACC will host a congressional briefing to discuss how this legislation could save even more children from death and disability by enabling advances in pediatric laboratory testing to continue.
WHO: During the briefing, pediatric laboratory medicine experts Michael Bennett, PhD, incoming AACC President-Elect Patricia Jones, PhD, and Shannon Haymond, PhD, will explain how laboratory testing improves childhood health by enabling doctors to diagnose, treat, and monitor serious conditions ranging from rare genetic disorders to premature heart disease. Former AACC President Robert Christenson, PhD, will act as moderator.
The presenters, in addition to being AACC members, all hold positions as children’s hospital laboratory directors. Dr. Bennett is director of the metabolic disease laboratory at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Dr. Jones is director of clinical chemistry at Children’s Medical Center, Dallas; and Dr. Haymond is director of clinical chemistry and mass spectrometry at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Dr. Christenson is a professor of pathology and of medical and research technology at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.
This briefing is sponsored by Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-California) and Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), who introduced the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act of 2013 in the U.S. House of Representatives last year.
WHEN: Tuesday, October 14, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
WHERE: Room 2226, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.
WHY: Clinical laboratory tests play a vital role in ensuring that children receive medical treatment for costly health conditions that reduce life expectancy if left unchecked.
In particular, newborn screening—which is the practice of testing every newborn for treatable genetic conditions—prevents severe disability, developmental delays, or death in thousands of infants every year. Thanks to legislation enacted in 2008, the number of states conducting newborn screening has increased four-fold, and more than 98 percent of newborns now undergo laboratory screening for 29 conditions.
After newborn screening, clinical laboratory tests continue to have a positive impact on children throughout their development, helping kids grow up to be healthy adults. For example, now that obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute is recommending that all children be screened for high cholesterol. This can be an important step in preventing future cardiovascular problems, and could help to reverse the worrying trend of young children developing heart disease.
In spite of the benefits children gain from clinical laboratory testing, however, newborn screening is in danger of losing crucial funding, and other areas of pediatric testing still lag behind adult testing. AACC’s congressional briefing will examine why the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act of 2013 is essential for preserving and building on the significant headway made by the original newborn screening act, as well as the challenges that pediatric medical testing still faces.
HOW: To attend this briefing as press, for interviews, or additional information please contact Molly Polen, AACC Director of Communications & PR, at 202.420.7612 or [email protected].
Dedicated to achieving better health through laboratory medicine, AACC brings together more than 50,000 clinical laboratory professionals, physicians, research scientists, and business leaders from around the world focused on clinical chemistry, molecular diagnostics, mass spectrometry, translational medicine, lab management, and other areas of breaking laboratory science. Since 1948, AACC has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing programs that advance scientific collaboration, knowledge, expertise, and innovation. For more information, visit www.aacc.org.