Society Members' Research Featured in New Book: The China-US Partnership to Prevent Spina Bifida

Congratulations Godfrey Oakley, MD, David Erickson, DDS, PhD, R.J. Berry, MD, & Joseph Mulinare, MD, Teratology Society members whose neural tube defects study is featured in a new book: The China-US Partnership to Prevent Spina Bifida: The Evolution of a Landmark Epidemiological Study by Deborah Kowal.

This book tells the story of how American and Chinese epidemiologists built evidence that folic acid supplementation can prevent NTDs. They conducted a massive community intervention, created a world-class database, and informed perinatal health policies. The New England Journal of Medicine and the Lancet published the landmark articles, but scientific articles cannot reveal the sociopolitical tensions, finagling for resources, multiple change-ups of study design, lessons learned, or repeated negotiations at all levels. This book brings to life the science and the behind-the-scenes drama and adventure.

Excerpts from several book reviews include:

"At the March of Dimes we knew how important 'the China study' was to our campaign to increase folic acid consumption by women of childbearing potential. I knew the CDC players well and was continually inspired by their total commitment to preventing neural tube defects. But I did not know the wonderful human touches that are at the core of this thoroughly scholarly yet beautifully engaging narrative. This is science and public health at their very best."
--Richard B. Johnston Jr., MD, Former Medical Director, March of Dimes Foundation

"An inspiring account of a dedicated team that overcame substantial (and sadly needless) obstacles to conducting research of great importance."
--Professor Sir Nicholas Wald, FRCP, FRS, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London

"Deborah Kowal's book on the evolution of a landmark epidemiological study brings to life four miracles. 1. The coming together of an American and Chinese vision of childhood without neural tube defects (NTDs). 2. The development of a scientific partnership of two governments moving toward a new relationship of trust, respect, and cooperation. 3. The coming together of a brilliant team of young Chinese and American professionals, each bringing their unique skills to a common task. 4. The creation of new epidemiologic and operational methods relevant to promoting, delivering, and monitoring the delivery of folic acid to over 500,000 pre-pregnant women. The book is must reading for individuals and organizations taking on the challenge of collaborative bilateral research."
--Stanley O. Foster, MD, MPH, Professor Emeritus, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University 


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