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    January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month — Prevent to Protect

    Infections during pregnancy can hurt both mothers and their babies. We encourage all women to make healthy choices and learn different strategies to prevent infections during pregnancy to help lower their risk of having a baby born with a birth defect.

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  • Established in 1996, the Massachusetts Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention is a collaboration between the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), Boston University's Slone Epidemiology Center (SEC), and Brigham and Women's Hospital Active Malformations Surveillance Program (BWH ). The Center is located in the Bureau of Family Health and Nutrition at MDPH offices at 250 Washington Street in Boston and is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a Center for Excellence in Birth Defects Research.

    The Massachusetts Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention (MCBDRP) is responsible for the collection of information regarding all newly diagnosed cases of birth defects to Massachusetts residents. Birth defects surveillance is a critical component of public health strategies to reduce the occurrence and impact of birth defects. Through surveillance and related activities, the MCBDRP is able to detect the prevalence of birth defects, to monitor trends, to investigate potential causes, to plan appropriate interventions, and to ensure services and appropriate care for children with special health needs.

    Slone Epidemiology Center and Brigham and Women's Hospital bring to the Massachusetts Center more than 20 years of combined experience in birth defects research. The Massachusetts Center draws on the experience of and fosters communication among the region's strong network of clinicians and researchers. The Center's areas of expertise include surveillance and methodology; pediatric, reproductive, and social epidemiology; heart defects and drug teratogenicity research; and experience conducting health service needs assessment.

    The MCBDRP is a member of the National Birth Defects Network and collaborates with 9 other states in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. This national study is the largest effort in the U.S. to collect risk factor information about birth defects.


    To support surveillance, research and dissemination of information aimed at preventing birth defects.

    This program is part of the Bureau of Family Health and Nutrition.


    Contact Us

    Cathleen A. Higgins, Surveillance Coordinator
    Bureau of Family Health and Nutrition
    250 Washington Street
    Boston, MA 02108
    Tel. 617-624-5510