CLEMSON — Jane DeLuca, an associate professor in the Clemson University School of Nursing, has been appointed a member of the Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns & Children (ACHDNC) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The committee provides advice, recommendations and technical information about aspects of heritable disorders and newborn screening to the secretary of Health and Human Services. The committee works toward the development of policies and priorities that will enhance the ability of the states and local health agencies to provide for screening, counseling and health care services for newborns and children who have or are at risk for heritable disorders.
There are 35 core conditions and 26 secondary conditions recommended for state screening panels, DeLuca said. These disorders are primarily inborn errors of metabolism; however, newborn screening includes hearing screening; critical congenital heart problems; hemoglobinopathies, such as sickle cell disease; and cystic fibrosis.
“Being able to be part of this very important process is incredible,” DeLuca said. “People take their cue from the ACHDNC for deciding which disorders to include in states’ screening panels. Each state screens for particular conditions, and I look forward to being able to help with those recommendations.”
While DeLuca is new to the committee, she has been involved with infant screening for decades. When a baby is born in South Carolina, it is screened within the first 24-36 hours. Blood from a heel stick is sent to the state screening labs for analysis. The screenings that are positive for metabolic disorders are sent to the Greenwood Genetic Center for evaluation and treatment. Dr. Neena Champaigne is the director of the Metabolic Treatment Program in Greenwood and DeLuca, who is also a nurse practitioner, follows patients’ care at the center’s office in Greenville.
“When I started in genetics, and in particular working with infants identified with metabolic conditions as a result of newborn screening, I became passionate about their care,” DeLuca said. “Newborn screening cuts across all groups and every baby can receive screening. Every year, almost 4 million babies are screened. It’s special to be a part of something that’s so important in saving infants’ lives.”
As a professor in the School of Nursing, she collaborates on research projects with the Greenwood Genetic Center. She teaches undergraduate nursing students as well as graduate students in the Healthcare Genetics Ph.D. program. She chairs the recruitment committee in School of Nursing and is a member of the Women’s Commission at Clemson. DeLuca also is a member of the board of the Society of Inherited Metabolic Disorders and a member of the International Society of Nurses in Genetics.
Kathleen Valentine, director of School of Nursing, said DeLuca is committed and strives for excellence in and outside the classroom.
“Jane DeLuca is a valued faculty member within the School of Nursing. She brings insight from the field of genetics to her classes and acts as an ambassador to the Greenwood Genetics Center which offers students various academic and research opportunities,” Valentine said. “She is well-deserving of this appointment and her passion and expertise for newborn screening will help elevate the work of this committee.”
DeLuca’s appointment to the committee will end June 30, 2023.
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