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california birth defects monitoring program



Program History

In 1982, California established a groundbreaking program for birth defects monitoring. The California Birth Defects Monitoring Program (CBDMP) has since become a model for surveillance in other states and a worldwide leader in providing data for birth defects research.

Program Information

CBDMP performs active case finding for surveillance in select California counties, which contain a representative sample of the State's population. Information is collected on specific congenital and inherited disorders to provide the public, researchers and the medical community with accurate data on birth defects.

Data Collection:

We set procedures for identifying children with birth defects, reviewing medical records and linking cases with state and national agencies. Data collection focuses on structural malformations including major heart defects, oral clefts, neural tube defects, hypospadias, abdominal wall defects, Down syndrome and other chromosomal defects.


We focus on common birth defects with substantial public health impact. We strive to monitor a large number of representative births in California so that findings will be scientifically meaningful and have a potential to prevent the most widespread conditions threatening today's infants.


CBDMP's Registry database has information amassed from surveillance of over 25 years and 6.25 million births. We strive to gather data on a core group of conditions in a large representative sample of births.


With a data collection and analysis framework in place, CBDMP responds to inquiries from the public, research and medical communities.

Public Health Monitoring: 

CBDMP monitors the rates of birth defects by geographic and demographic attributes. CBDMP provides data for public health reports, needs assessments and program evaluation.

Public Outreach: 

CBDMP works to communicate relevant information and identify appropriate resources specifically for California families concerned about birth defects.

Continued Leadership: 

With many published findings and ongoing monitoring of California births, the CBDMP continues to be a leader in birth defects surveillance.

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