The mission of the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program is to find causes of birth defects. We use a multifaceted approach to generate and test ideas about potential causes:
Tracking rates and trends with our registry, a database of medical and demographic information on over 118,000 children with birth defects. Monitoring the big picture identifies high-risk groups and suggests clues about possible risk and protective factors. The registry also identifies cases for research studies.
Conducting research to test promising hypotheses. Because most causes are extremely subtle, they must be teased out in large-scale studies focusing on particular birth defects or environmental exposures. Often, biologic or genetic testing augments our interviews with mothers.
Collaborating with scientists around the world to conduct comprehensive studies, share ideas and findings.
Responding to public concerns by investigating birth defects clusters or targeting surveillance around sites of environmental concern. Investigations can yield clues to test in larger studies.