Wendy Nembhard, Ph.D., M.P.H., FACE, Section Chief & Center Director

The Arkansas Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of ten centers in the United States. The goal of the center is to perform research on the causes and impact of birth defects. The Arkansas Center will enhance and improve Arkansas existing birth defects surveillance system to allow for complete identification of all children born with birth defects in the state.  Researchers from the Center collaborate with the CDC and other state centers in performing a case-control study to help identify the causes of birth defects. Each center will identify 300 cases per year of children with birth defects and 100 control children without birth defects. The Centers perform comprehensive interviews on the mothers participating in this study and collect biologic specimens on the children and their parents.

In addition, the Arkansas Center has been awarded grants from NIH and CDC to develop research agendas in the following areas:

  1. genetic susceptibilities and maternal micronutrient intake as risk factors for neural tube defects and congenital heart defects
  2. intervention programs to educate women about the protective effects of folic acid
  3. identification of environmental and genetic risk factors for stillbirths
  4. long-term outcomes in children with congenital heart defects

For more information, please visit our website.


Faculty Members:Little girl on playground equipment