2020 may go down in history as the year of pandemic challenges for all, but as scientists headed to the lab in the race for a COVID-19 cure/vaccine, it will also be remembered as a year that underscored the importance of scientific research. That emphasis can be translated to all facets of science, including the effort to educate and support birth defects research and prevention. We encourage our Society members to aggressively jump into 2021 with messages supporting January’s Birth Defects Prevention Month. As researchers in the birth defects field, January is our month and we aim to own it each and 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 once again heavily contributed expertise and social media graphics to a digital toolkit. The toolkit has been updated to include BDRP’s new name in several places, including in the toolkit’s introduction and information about COVID-19. In it, the collaborative effort communicates effective steps that can be taken by professionals, community groups, and the public to prevent birth defects.
Additional BDRP activities during January will include:
- Increased social media posts to promote the 5 tips for prevention birth defects.
- Promotion of our President’s Message video, which can be seen and shared with your networks here: https://youtu.be/QlwQ3xsoP7o
- A live Birth Defects Prevention Month Twitter chat with partners March of Dimes, MotherToBaby and CDC on January 26 at 2 pm Eastern using the hashtag #Best4YouBest4Baby.
- A Birth Defects Insights blog, authored by member Lauren Walker, PhD, about CBD use and pregnancy.
- Shortly after January, also look for a press release to promote the special Birth Defects Research issue on exercise and pregnancy.
To maximize the impact of Birth Defects Prevention Month, WE NEED YOU! Suggested actions include:
- Follow the BDRP 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 3rd edition of the Teratology Primer, which is featured as a “Partner Resource” on the NBDPN website.
- Follow and use the hashtag #Best4YouBest4Baby and 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).
- Take advantage of social media posts and graphics free to use in your own social media efforts. The graphics and messages were partially designed by our Society’s own communications consultant.
- 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 educational effort. Does the organization/institution you work for have a website, magazine, newsletter or other form of communication? Submit two-three paragraphs for posting. 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 holiday season and 2021!
With warm regards,
Jeffrey H. Charlap, MS
Chair, BDRP Communications Coordination Committee