As we wrap up 2018, The Teratology Society is already aggressively jumping in to 2019 for January’s Birth Defects Prevention Month. As researchers in the birth defects field, January is our month and we aim to own it every year. Alongside the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March of Dimes, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS)/MotherToBaby, we have heavily contributed expertise to a resource toolkit titled “Best for You. Best for Baby: Tips for Preventing Birth Defects.” In it, we communicate effective steps that can be taken by professionals, community groups, and the public to prevent birth defects. This year, our communications consultant has contributed more information about the Teratology Society than ever before, - and our Society is even featured in the toolkit press release.
Additional Teratology Society activities during January will include:
- Increased social media posts, the launching of a Facebook campaign aimed at other scientists and the promotion of an upcoming press release for a special issue of our journal, Birth Defects Research: Molecules and Microbes and Cells, Oh My! What Mothers Give to Us besides Genes
- Promotion of our President’s Message video, which can be seen and shared with your networks here: https://youtu.be/O00Lmk0yeB0
- A two-part webinar series on Pregnancy Registries in January featuring Teratology Society past president Dr. Christina Chambers, in collaboration with OTIS/MotherToBaby and the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine. The webinar will be free to attend. Dates will be announced when finalized.
- A Birth Defects Insights blog written by members of our Public Affairs Committee to further publicize our Society’s new NTD surveillance position paper which is also scheduled to be published in January.
To maximize the impact of Birth Defects Prevention Month, WE NEED YOU! Suggested actions include:
- Follow the Teratology Society on “Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter”! Click on the links and “Like” or “Follow” so that you will receive our posts and can easily “Share” them with your networks.
- Change your social media profile picture to the "Best for You. Best for Baby" graphic included in this post during the month of January.
- Share our latest edition of the Teratology Primer, which is featured as a “Partner Resource” on the NBDPN website.
- Follow and use the hashtag #Best4YouBest4Babyand share/retweet the posts we, as well as our partners, are posting (for those unfamiliar with social media, this year’s packet contains helpful social media use guidelines).
- Support our sister society’s efforts, such as MotherToBaby/OTIS’ 4-part Baby Blog series highlighting the prevention tips featured in the NBDPN toolkit. The Baby Blog series will be published on MotherToBaby’s website as well as via the March of Dimes.
Spread the word about the scientific work YOU are doing. Birth Defects Prevention Month is a great time to let people know what you’re doing to advance birth defects research. You could highlight your own work and how, as part of the world’s premier society for birth defects research, your work is part of a global birth defects research, prevention, and education effort. Does the organization/institution you work for have a website, magazine, newsletter or other form of communication? Submit two-three paragraphs for posting. The NBDPN website has a plethora of resources that you can use, including an article we developed specifically for Birth Defects Prevention Month on infection information for women planning a pregnancy. If you need assistance with an article or resources, please contact Nicole Chavez.
Thank you for your contributions to the field of teratology and our Society’s mission of preventing birth defects and disorders of developmental and reproductive origin. May you have a successful month and year communicating the importance of the work you do.
Wishing you a healthy and safe 2019!
Dana L. Shuey, PhD, DABT, President
Linda G. Roberts, PhD, Chair, Communications Coordination Committee