MDH Birth Defects Program
The Birth Defects Monitoring and Analysis (BDMA) program at MDH gathers data about selected birth defects diagnosed in the first year of life, estimated to affect over 2,000 babies born in Minnesota each year.
The Birth Defects Program supports the mission of MDH to protect, maintain, and improve the health of all Minnesotans by helping children thrive, grow, and be as healthy as possible. The primary goals of the Birth Defects Program are to:
- Monitor trends of birth defects to detect emerging health concerns and identify affected populations through the Birth Defects Information System (BDIS),
- Ensure appropriate services are provided to affected families,
- Prevent birth defects through targeted education,
- Educate physicians and the public regarding birth defects, and
- Stimulate research on risk factors, treatment, prevention, and the cure of birth defects.
State general funds support program activities, including notification and coordination of services for those infants and families found to have special needs. Legislation passed in 2010 authorizes the statewide expansion of birth defects monitoring and analysis activities. As part of this expansion, MDH will partner with local public health agencies and tribal agencies across MN for birth defects service delivery in the communities where those families live. Despite the fact that 100,000 to 150,000 babies are born each year in the US with major birth defects, little is known about the actual causes of birth defects. However, some types of birth defects are preventable, so MDH will also focus some program activities on the prevention of birth defects as well.