Louisiana Birth Defects Monitoring Network
The Louisiana Birth Defects Monitoring Network (LBDMN) is one of several programs in the Bureau of Family Health serving Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN). Under the Louisiana Department of Health’s Office of Public Health, LBDMN staff conduct public health surveillance of children born with congenital medical conditions. By monitoring the health status of newborns, LBDMN provides population-based data that helps focus policies, educate the public, link families to services, and prevent new occurrences. We evaluate concerns about unexpected groups of birth defects as well as the effectiveness of preventive interventions. These activities ultimately protect the public’s health beginning early in life.
Who do we serve?
The Louisiana Birth Defects Monitoring Network assesses the outcomes of more than 62,000 Louisiana births annually. This helps to ensure that there are no unknown environmental conditions, pharmaceutical side effects, or behavioral risk factors threatening Louisiana’s newborns.
The risk of having a child born with a congenital disability affects all men and women of reproductive age, not just those families that are directly impacted. For example, monitoring birth defects helps illuminate environmental hazards that could impact the citizens of Louisiana. On a national level, LBDMN supports scientific research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, other states and universities.
What are our functions?
The Louisiana Birth Defects Monitoring Network is primarily concerned with the active surveillance of children born in Louisiana. We collect data to answer questions about the roughly 1,500 children born with congenital medical conditions annually: Which diagnoses do they have? Where are they located? Born to which mothers?
We report our data to our sister agencies in the Louisiana Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and to the National Birth Defects Prevention Network. LBDMN also collaborates with community partners to educate the public on ways to prevent birth defects and to reach out to those families who already have a child born with a congenital disability. Our overall mission includes:
- Surveillance: Collect and analyze birth defects data on all children under the age of three years old to determine the frequency and distribution of birth defects in the state
- Referrals: Provide information to affected families on locally-available medical, social and educational services.
- Prevention: Use the results of data analysis to plan and target birth defects education and prevention efforts.
- Collaboration: Be active partners in birth defects education and prevention efforts throughout the state.
By evaluating patient discharge information from all birthing hospitals in Louisiana, we generate private and confidential lists of children whose medical records are reviewed by Data Collection Specialists across the state. The medical record data is de-identified and statistically analyzed for patterns and trends over time. Annual reports are prepared for the Louisiana legislature and the National Birth Defects Prevention Network.