MEET THE INAUGURAL
by Patrice Held, PhD, co-director,
newborn screening laboratory, WSLH
Patrice Held, PhD, co-director, newborn screening laboratory, WSLH
The two-year Ronald H. Laessig Memorial Newborn Screening Fellowship rovides laboratory and scholarly training to post-doctoral candidates with prospects for leadership roles within state newborn screening (NBS) laboratories and the national NBS community. Sponsored by APHL, CDC, the Jeffrey
Modell Foundation (JMF) and the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene (WSLH),
the fellowship honors the memory of Ronald Laessig, PhD, who served as director
of the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene from 1980–2006 and was a strong advocate for newborn screening. In January 2011, I was named the inaugural newborn
screening fellow. And two years later, on January 2, 2013, I began a new position
as co-director of the Wisconsin newborn screening laboratory, sharing supervisory,
administrative and technical responsibilities for daily operations, and leading the
research and academic components of this important public health program.
The Laessig Memorial Newborn Screening fellowship has played an important part
in my career path. Before I arrived at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene
for the fellowship, I had criss-crossed the United States for my academic training
and early professional career. I received my bachelor’s degree in genetics from the
University of Wisconsin-Madison and then went on to receive my PhD in medical genetics from Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. Following my
doctoral training, I completed a fellowship in clinical biochemical genetics at the
National Institutes of Health (NIH), and later served three years as assistant medical director of the biochemical genetics laboratory at ARUP Laboratories in Salt
Lake City, UT.
Available in the digital edition and mobile app.
This year is the 50th anniversary of newborn
screening in the US. In this video, Jelili Ojodu,
MPH, Director, Newborn Screening and Genetics
at APHL, talks about APHL’s campaign to
celebrate this important milestone.
Click the Play button to view.
Digi Tal ex Tra
The Laessig Memorial NBS fellowship has two major components: laboratory training and research. The first year of the fellowship focused on developing laboratory
skills, like high-throughput testing, decision-making, management and technological expertise in all areas of newborn screening. External training, provided
by the Mayo Clinic, Jeffrey Modell Diagnostic Centers and CDC, supplemented
the fellowship experience. Through these activities, I gained experience with the
complex testing performed in the newborn screening laboratory and confidence in
my abilities to integrate multiple test results into a meaningful assessment of the
infant. During the second year of the fellowship, I identified and completed several
research projects that have helped enhance the quality testing performed within
the Wisconsin NBS laboratory. Through my participation in large workgroups,
including APHL’s Newborn Screening and Genetics in Public Health Committee,
I grew an understanding of the larger public health issues surrounding newborn
screening. I am truly honored and thankful to have been awarded the first newborn
screening fellowship position. u