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Dr. Anne-Marie Kaulfers, assistant professor of pediatric endocrinology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, was recently awarded funding through the Alabama Department of Public Health to improve the state newborn screening program. The award totals $30,101.
The funding allows for better quality of newborn screenings to ensure newborn infants affected by disorders receive the most appropriate care and the best possible medical outcomes.
According to Dr. Kaulfers, this grant allows the coordination of subspecialty services across the state to ensure that every child gets prompt treatment for their condition.
Dr. Kaulfers said newborn screening is important because proper diagnoses, treatment and development in the infant stage can determine if the child will have health problems later in life. Her office receives the abnormal blood screen samples from the state lab in an effort to catch the problems early and address possible diseases and illnesses that have few visible symptoms at birth.
With this screening program, the state is able to contact Dr. Kaulfers’ office immediately so that the patient can start medication.
The program is also able to expand the effectiveness of care to patients across the state. Dr. Kaulfers served as an expert panelist at the Alabama Department of Public Health annual conference in 2011 and spoke to hundreds of nurses and pediatricians from across the state.
“The conference provided a forum to talk to providers about the diseases we screen for, how they are treated, the prognosis and how they can educate the parents of these children,” she said.
The Department of Public Health also sponsors video conferencing to strategize about ways to improve access to care.
“We meet at least four times a year by video conference so the doctors that care for the patients can meet with the lab coordinators and the directors of the program,” she said. “This allows us to discuss any problems that come up and develop new protocols to make things run smoothly, and make sure that every child, regardless of where they live, gets the same treatment.”
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