Approximately 150,000 children are born every year in the United States affected by one or more birth defects. Although the cause of over 60% of birth defects are not known, there are things that you can do as an employer to intervene on behalf of your employees, your customers, and those in your community. Awareness and education are the keys to preventing birth defects. As a business leader, you can play a vital role by setting up a birth defects prevention campaign in your company.
Here is a variety of tips you can use to implement a birth defect prevention plan for your business:
- Tip 1. Provide wellness education in your company orientation and review processes that include prevention tips for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and birth defects.
- Tip 2. Have your benefits program includes coverage for annual wellness checks and genetic counseling for those considering parenthood.
- Tip 3. Provide access to organizations that offer prevention education, such as the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society. These organizations could be listed in your benefits manual and in links on your company website.
Organizations That Can Help:
- Tip 4. Create a health and wellness display in your company’s break room, or provide access to educational pamphlets and brochures that address common health concerns, including birth defect prevention.
- Tip 5. Inform customers that January is Birth Defects Prevention Month. Place a poster near the checkout or on a bulletin board. Incorporate a simple sentence in your promotional email campaigns, such as:
“January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. Visit the American Pregnancy Association (www.americanpregnancy.org), March of Dimes (www.modimes.org), and the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (www.nbdpn.org) for more information.”
One email to your customer and vendor list may have a domino effect in creating awareness of birth defect prevention options. It is free and could easily prompt someone considering parenthood to have a wellness exam or seek genetic counseling.
Why Implement a Company Birth Defects Prevention Campaign?
- You communicate to employees, customers, and the community that you care about their well being. This helps create positive community relations.
- You can help prevent the occurrence of a birth defect for an employee or someone in your community.
- It may reduce the amount of public funding spent on neonatal care following the birth of a low-birth-weight baby.
- For self-insured companies, investing in wellness programs and genetic counseling can reduce the excessive monies spent on neonatal care or the additional medical care necessary for managing a child with a birth defect.