From the President

Welcome to the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN) website.

Founded in 1997, the NBDPN is an organization of state-based programs and other volunteers with interests in birth defects surveillance and prevention.  It targets the needs of children and families affected by birth defects. 

Network members:

  • Are committed to understanding the factors that lead to birth defects.
  • Identify strategies to reduce birth defects.
  • Work to prevent potential secondary disabilities.

Members include:

  • Public health officials.
  • Epidemiologists.
  • Academics.
  • Parents and others.

Our mission is to:

  • Establish a network of state-based and other population-based programs.
  • Improve birth defects surveillance nationally.
  • Promote collaboration on prevention activities.
  • Sponsor research into the prevention of birth defects and the impact of birth defects across the lifespan.
  • Assess the effects of prevention and intervention activities.

Over the years, the NBDPN has developed birth defects registry standards that establish core requirements for effective surveillance efforts and promote uniformity across state and regional registries.  The Network has also facilitated a number of multistate research efforts to address research questions which would be impractical to examine without cross-registry collaboration.

Especially noteworthy Network products and initiatives include:

  • A partnership with parents by forming a NBDPN Parents Advisory Group. More information for the Parent Advisory Group can be found at
  • Our Annual Birth Defects Prevention Month packets that provide focused and informative materials on specific birth defects prevention topics each year.
  • Updated Manual for Conducting Birth Defects Surveillance.
  • Multi-state collaborative projects that explore trends in gastroschisis, race/ethnicity and birth defects, and survival and birth defects, among others.
  • A brief data report that focuses on the variability of prevalence data among population-based birth defects surveillance systems.
  • An Annual Report on birth defects prevalence.
I invite you to look over our site, our bylaws, and our various committees.  Because we are a volunteer organization, I encourage you to join our network.  Membership is easy and the membership fee is relatively small.  Membership benefits include:
  • Access to our members-only site.
  • Eligibility for our periodic Webinars on a range of birth defects surveillance associated topics.
  • A subscription to the NBDPN Newsletter.
I hope you find the site useful and informative.  I also invite your suggestions for improving the site by e-mailing  Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any comments or suggestions.

Marlene Anderka, ScD, MPH
2016 NBDPN President