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New “Ask the Expert” Interviews Young Special Olympian with FAS

January 15, 2015

Mr. Andrew Peterson

This month, in honor of January as National Birth Defects Prevention Month, Ask the Expert features an interview with an amazing father and son. Andrew Peterson (pictured, right) was diagnosed at an early age with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Yet, he has become an accomplished competitive runner, a winner of multiple Gold medals in the Special Olympics, an inspiring speaker and coach, and a recent finalist for the cover of Runner’s World magazine. His father, Craig Peterson, adopted Andrew and five other children with special needs, and has devoted his life to helping them succeed.

Click here to read their inspiring story.

NOFAS-UK releases 12th edition of Fetal Alcohol Forum

January 15, 2015

The National Organisation for Foetal Alcohol Syndrome UK (NOFAS-UK) promotes education for professionals and public awareness about the risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. NOFAS-UK recently released the 12th edition of their newsletter Fetal Alcohol Forum. This publication includes a compilation of internationally published FASD-related research, articles, news, and videos from the last 6 months. It is available at:

To learn more about NOFAS-UK or to view previous editions of Fetal Alcohol Forum please visit -

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month

December 30, 2014

Each January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. The National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN) regularly produces materials to help raise awareness of birth defects, including Spina Bifida, Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), heart defects, and others.

As we announced earlier this month, the NBDPN has released a new information packet to mark the 2015 recognition event. Titled Making Healthy Choices to Prevent Birth Defects - Make a PACT for Prevention, the 2015 packet is designed to assist state program staff and others interested in promoting birth defect prevention. Click on the link above to download the entire packet or specific portions. The NBDPN also provides downloadable brochures with quick facts about birth defects in English and Spanish.

For informational resources specific to FASD, visit the FASD Center’s fact sheets and booklets page, where you can download our popular What You Need to Know fact sheets, the TA Impact fact sheet series, our Healthy Baby brochures, and other products for consumers and professionals.

January is a perfect opportunity to remember: FASD is 100% preventable!

New CDC Information Packet for National Birth Defects Prevention Month

December 15, 2014

In anticipation of the upcoming Birth Defects Prevention Month (January), the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN) has released the 2015 National Birth Defects Prevention Month packet. The theme of the packet is “Making Healthy Choices to Prevent Birth Defects – Make a PACT for Prevention.”

The packet was developed in collaboration with many partners, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the Teratology Society. The resources in the packet can be shared with colleagues, policy makers, families, and others during Birth Defects Prevention Month and throughout the year. NBDPN’s goal is to continue to increase awareness that birth defects are “Common, Costly and Critical” and to offer actionable steps that can be taken by professionals, community groups, and the public to prevent birth defects.

If you utilize the packet or any of its elements, the NBDPN is asking that you provide feedback as well as suggestions for future materials by completing an evaluation at

FASD Center for Excellence Continues to Update Navigation

December 15, 2014

This month, the SAMHSA FASD Center for Excellence continues the process of simplifying our website user experience. Last month, we announced the new ‘Products’ section on the homepage’s left-hand navigation. This month, we’re launching two more new sections:

  • ‘State Capacity’ (previously ‘State Systems’) contains our interactive map that can be used to identify FASD-related services and systems in each state, and also contains an overview of the National Association of FASD State Coordinators (NAFSC), including a roster of NAFSC’s current members; and
  • ‘Resources’ (previously ‘Links’) provides an extensive listing of federal, state, and local organizations as well as support groups that can assist individuals with an FASD and their families.

We invite you to explore the new sections and see how we’ve made important information easier to locate. And visit our streamlined ‘Products’ section to find and download our popular print and multimedia publications!

New “FASD in Review” Examines New FASD Prevalence Data

November 24, 2014

This month, FASD in Review examines an article published by Philip A. May, Ph.D., and colleagues in the November issue of Pediatrics, titled “Prevalence and Characteristics of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.”

The prevalence rates identified in this study, which examined first graders in a typical Midwestern city, suggest that diagnosable cases within the FASD spectrum may be closer to 4% of the general population vs. the previously estimated 1% commonly quoted. These findings, combined with the fact that so many pregnancies are unplanned and that many women do not recognize when they are first pregnant, hold significant implications for federal commitment to FASD research, training, prevention, and treatment.

Click here to read the new FASD in Review, which summarizes the new findings and discusses their implications for the FASD field.

FASD Center for Excellence Streamlines Navigation

November 24, 2014

The SAMHSA FASD Center for Excellence is always looking for ways to make the website user experience easier. Recently, we’ve eliminated two categories on the homepage’s left-hand navigation that were titled ‘Grab and Go’ and ‘Resources.’ These have been replaced by a section titled ‘Products.’ In addition, we’ve drastically reduced the number of flyouts from this category (additional navigational buttons that ‘fly out’ to the right of the main button when you move the cursor over it).

We invite you to explore the new ‘Products’ section and see how we’ve made our various resources easier to locate. And keep an eye on our homepage, as the FASD Center for Excellence will continue to make user-friendly improvements to the site!

New “Ask the Expert” Column Examines FASD Among Native Americans

November 14, 2014

In honor of November as Native American Heritage Month, this month’s Ask the Expert interviews the Honorable Anita Fineday. A member of the Minnesota-based White Earth Band of Ojibwe, Judge Fineday has devoted her career to improving the way of life for Native Americans. She served for many years as the Chief Judge for her tribe, and also helped to oversee the work of a subcontract with the SAMHSA FASD Center for Excellence which sought to better connect Native families dealing with substance abuse to needed treatment services.

Currently, Judge Fineday is the Managing Director of the Indian Child Welfare Program at Casey Family Programs in Seattle, the nation’s largest operating foundation focused on building Communities of Hope for children and families across America. For this month’s Ask the Expert, she discusses her career and the needs of Native communities in addressing FASD.

Click here to visit this and other recent Ask the Expert columns.