175047 Infant health in US military families: The Department of Defense Birth and Infant Health Registry, 19982005

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 11:10 AM

Ava Marie S. Conlin, DO, MPH , DoD Center for Deployment Health Research, Department 164, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, CA
Background: The United States Department of Defense (DoD) is challenged with monitoring and protecting the health of its service members and their families. Concerns exist that some military-unique exposures, such as deployment, may pose a risk to reproductive health. The global geographic distribution of service members prohibits state surveillance systems from completely capturing their reproductive health data. The DoD Birth and Infant Health Registry conducts global surveillance for birth defects and other infant health outcomes among military beneficiaries.

Methods: Inpatient and outpatient diagnostic data are obtained from military and civilian medical centers to capture births and health outcomes in the first year of life among infants born to US military families. Birth and diagnostic data are matched with parental demographic, occupational, and exposure data. A sample of records is reviewed for case validation.

Results: More than 750,000 infants were born to military families in all 50 states and more than 20 foreign countries between 1998 and 2005. The prevalence and types of major birth defects in military infants are consistent with those found in the US general population. Other health outcomes examined include: preterm birth, in utero and infant growth deficiencies, infant sex ratios, inflicted traumatic brain injury in infancy, and infant neoplasms, including malignancies.

Conclusions: The DoD Birth and Infant Health Registry aggregates robust sources of electronic data to assess the prevalence of birth defects and other health outcomes among infants born to military families. Ongoing analyses focus on exposures of special interest, including parental military deployment.

Learning Objectives:
1. Recognize the need for, and the challenges involved in, the development of the DoD Birth and Infant Health Registry for infant health surveillance. 2. Describe the methods used to maintain and analyze Registry data. 3. Identify infant health issues of special interest and importance to military families.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I lead the DoD Birth and Infant Health Registry team on a daily basis and contribute to the analysis and interpretation of the data.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.