Dr. Michele Caggana

Dr. Michele Caggana has been honored by the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) for her leadership in improving laboratory screening of newborns for genetic disorders.

Dr. Caggana, director of the Newborn Screening Program at the New York State Department of Health's Wadsworth Center, received the Harry Hannon Laboratory Improvement Award in Newborn Screening at the APHL’s recent Newborn Screening and Genetic Testing Symposium in St. Louis.

According to APHL, this award is presented to individuals “who have had a direct effect in improving the quality of laboratory results for the newborn screening system in one or more of the following areas: assuring the quality of testing; enhancing the specificity of tests; establishing new, creative laboratory approaches and technologies; providing laboratory training/education for new technologies and tests; or improving the detection of newborn disorders/conditions.”

Under Dr. Caggana, New York has established one of the most advanced molecular testing laboratories for newborn screening disorders in the nation, testing more than 250,000 samples annually, free of charge to families, and screening for 47 disorders. She has directed the program since 2006.

The most recent additions to the panel of disorders screened include:

  • Pompe disease in 2014
  • X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD) in 2013 (currently the only state screening for X-ALD)
  • Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) in 2010
  • The first state to screen for Krabbe disease in 2006

For X-ALD, Dr. Caggana’s group quickly developed a screening methodology, molecular testing and follow-up protocols. When other states needed protocols or assistance, Dr. Caggana and her staff shared knowledge gained through the implementation and screening of these and other disorders.

Congratulations to Dr. Caggana and her staff for their continued effort to improve the health of our youngest New Yorkers.

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