Expanded newborn screening in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands: education and barriers assessment

Genet Med. 2009 Mar;11(3):169-75. doi: 10.1097/GIM.0b013e318193076f.


Purpose: The implementation of the expanded newborn screening panel of 29 disorders recommended by the American College of Medical Genetics in Puerto Rico and United States Virgin Islands is still in development or in early stages. Efforts in the territories are complicated by educational and resource barriers that generate a wide gap between the islands and the US mainland.

Methods: To meet immediate educational needs, we conducted in-services for local newborn screening professionals. The efficacy of the educational intervention was measured by pre and posttest scores and a seminar evaluation. An assessment was obtained to document local newborn screening needs and barriers, with focus on human resources, intervention, language, social issues, education, and communication.

Results: Statistical significance was found (P value < or =0.05) between pre and posttest scores of the educational intervention. Needs and barriers associated with expanded newborn screening were also documented.

Conclusion: Puerto Rico and United States Virgin Islands face different challenges in their implementation of expanded newborn screening. The data obtained in the present study serves as foundation for the development of public policy and long-term educational programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health
  • Female
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Personnel / psychology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Needs Assessment
  • Neonatal Screening / methods*
  • Neonatal Screening / psychology
  • Program Development / methods
  • Puerto Rico
  • United States Virgin Islands