About the Georgia Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) coordinates BD-STEPS and serves as the Georgia study site. CDC brings a lot of experience to BD-STEPS, like studying medication use among pregnant women and finding new ways to look at the data. In addition, CDC keeps track of birth defects in Atlanta through the Metropolitan Atlanta Congenital Defects Program (MACDP). MACDP has collected data in Atlanta since 1968 and serves as a model for other state surveillance systems.

More than 3,000 women from Georgia have helped us understand the causes of birth defects by taking part in the NBDPS. The Georgia Center is eager to follow up on NBDPS research findings with BD-STEPS

 


Principal Investigator Dr. Sarah Tinker, PhD

Dr. Tinker is focused on the collection of high quality data from local study subjects. She works with those involved in case and control identification and interviewing to ensure that the process is running smoothly. She also analyzes data, with a focus on using unique statistical methods to ensure that birth defects research data is used to its full potential for identifying causes.

"My mother is a doctor who takes care of infants born with health problems, and she often takes care of babies born with birth defects. Through her experiences, I learned the devastating effect birth defects can have on infants and their families and the importance of preventing birth defects before they happen."
— Dr. Sarah Tinker


BD-STEPS Project Officer Jennita Reefhuis, PhD

The overall lead investigator at the CDC for the collaborative BD-STEPS Centers for Birth Defects Research and Prevention is Dr. Reefhuis. She works with a team of computer programmers, communication specialists, and scientists that coordinate the overall study logistics and combine the data from the seven Centers. The data are then shared with researchers at each of the seven BD-STEPS Centers. Dr. Reefhuis’ research interests include fertility treatments, and medications and their relation with birth defects.

"I think every child deserves the best possible start in life, and I want to do everything I can do to help make that possible."
— Jennita Reefhuis


Notable Research Findings:

The following are selected examples of important research publications led by the GA Center. 

Arth A, Tinker S, Moore C, Canfield M, Agopian A, Reefhuis J. Supplement use and other characteristics among pregnant women with a previous pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect-United States, 1997-2009. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015 Jan 16;64(1):6-9.

Ailes EC, Gilboa SM, Riehle-Colarusso T, Johnson CY, Hobbs CA, Correa A, Honein MA, and the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Prenatal diagnosis of nonsyndromic congenital heart defects. Prenatal Diagnosis. 2014; 34(3):214-222. Epub 2013 Dec 17.

Dawson AL, Riehle-Colarusso T, Reefhuis J, Arena JF, and the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Maternal Exposure to Methotrexate and Birth Defects: A Population-Based Study. Am J Med Genet Part A. 2014 Sep;164A(9):221206.

Dawson AL, Tinker SC, Jamieson DJ, Hobbs CA, Rasmussen SA, Reefhuis J and the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Epidemiology of twinning in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, 1997 to 2007. Res A Clin Mol Teratol. 2014 Oct 31.

Gilboa SM, Lee KA, Cogswell ME, Traven FK, Botto LD, Riehle-Colarusso T, Correa A, Boyle CA, and the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Maternal Intake of Vitamin E and Birth Defects, National Birth Defects Prevention Study, 1997 to 2005. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. 2014 Sep;100(9):647-57.

Glidewell J, Reefhuis J, Rasmussen SA, Woomert A, Hobbs C, Romitti PA, Crider KS. Factors affecting maternal participation in the genetic component of the NBDPS — United States, 1997-2007. Genet Med. 2014 Apr;16(4):329-37. Epub 2013 Sep 26.

Jenkins MM, Reefhuis J, Gallagher ML, Mulle JG, Hoffmann TJ,  Koontz DA, Sturchio C, Rasmussen SA, Witte JS, Richter P, Honein MA, and the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Maternal Smoking, Xenobiotic Metabolizing Enzyme Gene Variants, and Gastroschisis Risk. Am J Med Genet Part A. 2014; 9999:1-10.

Peterson C, Ailes E, Riehle-Colarusso T, Oster ME, Olney RS, Cassell CH, Fixler DE, Carmichael SL, Shaw GM, Gilboa SM. Late Detection of Critical Congenital Heart Disease Among US Infants: Estimation of the Potential Impact of Proposed Universal Screening Using Pulse Oximetry. JAMA Pediatr. 2014 April;168(4):361-370.  

 

 

Contact Information:

BD-STEPS Project Officer:

Jennita Reefhuis, PhD

Epidemiology Team Lead of the Birth Defects Branch

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

Principal Investigator:

Sarah Tinker, PhD

Epidemiologist

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

Phone: 888-743-7324

GA@bdsteps.org