Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease at Birth Saves Lives

New study confirms a dramatic decrease in infant deaths

December 5, 2017

Infant deaths from critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) decreased more than 33 percent in eight states that mandated screening for CCHD using a test called pulse oximetry. In addition, deaths from other or unspecified cardiac causes decreased by 21 percent.

Pulse oximetry is a simple bedside test to determine the amount of oxygen in a baby’s blood and the baby’s pulse rate. Low levels of oxygen in the blood can be a sign of a CCHD.

CCHD screening nationwide could save at least 120 babies each year, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This study is the first look at the impact of state policies to either require or recommend screening of infants for CCHD at birth.

The study, Association of U.S. State Implementation of Newborn Screening Policies for Critical Congenital Heart Disease With Infant Cardiac Deaths,shows that states that required their hospitals to screen newborns with pulse oximetry saw the most significant decrease in infant deaths compared with states without screening policies. Voluntary policies or mandated policies not yet implemented were not associated with reductions in infant death rates. The encouraging news is that 47 states and D.C. now have mandatory screening policies in place and one additional state, California,  requires screening be offered. These results serve as a reminder to hospitals across the country to remain vigilant in their screening for CCHD.

“More families are able to celebrate special milestones in a child’s life thanks to the early identification and treatment of heart defects,” said CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D. “Screening newborns for critical congenital heart disease in every state, tribe, and territory will save lives and help babies thrive.”

About 1 in every 4 babies born with a congenital heart defect has CCHD and will need surgery or other procedures in the first year of life. In the U.S., about 7,200 babies born each year have one of seven CCHDs. Without screening by a pulse oximetry reading, some babies born with a congenital heart defect can appear healthy at first and be sent home with their families before their heart defect is detected.

CDC works to identify causes of congenital heart defects, find opportunities to prevent them, and improve the health of people living with these conditions.

For more information on congenital heart defects, visit and

South Dakota Reports First Flu Detection Of Season

Pierre, SD – South Dakota is reporting its first influenza detection of the 2017-2018 season, a Lawrence County resident in the 20-29 age group confirmed with influenza A.

 “A yearly flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and those around you from influenza and now is the time to get vaccinated,” said Colleen Winter, family and community health director for the department.

Yearly flu vaccination is recommended for everyone over the age of 6 months, but some groups are at higher risk – pregnant women, people over 50 years and people with chronic medical conditions. Health care workers and household contacts of high risk populations, especially those with young infants in the household, should also be vaccinated.

Last flu season, 53.9 percent of South Dakotans got a flu vaccine, the second highest vaccination rate in the nation. South Dakota has had the nation’s highest flu vaccination rate for five of the last seven seasons.

In addition to annual vaccination, people can help prevent flu by washing hands often with soap and water, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home when sick. Learn more about influenza and how to prevent it at

BHSU and SD Mines Team up to Eliminate Sexual Violence

September 22, 2017

SPEARFISH, SD —  SD Mines and Black Hills State University are teaming up to promote the “Not Here Not Anywhere” sexual violence awareness and prevention campaign facilitated by Black Hills State at this Saturday’s football game between the two rivals.

Teal-color awareness ribbons will adorn fans, players, and coaches at Saturday’s game. These ribbons signify a unified stance against sexual violence and a support for victims. The campaign kick-off also includes a special half-time presentation by BHSU President Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., and SD Mines Interim President Dr. Jan Puszynski.

“We are committed to creating an environment where sexual violence in any form is unacceptable and survivors are supported. This campaign aims to fundamentally shift the way we think about sexual violence by inspiring everyone to see it is our responsibility to do something, big or small, to prevent it,” said Jackson.

The “Not Here Not Anywhere” campaign concentrates on the elimination of sexual violence via awareness building and bystander interventions. Bystander intervention can be an effective way of stopping sexual assault before it happens, as bystanders play a key role in preventing, discouraging, and/or intervening when an act of violence has the potential to occur. Current research on preventing campus sexual violence shows wide-ranging, population-based strategies like bystander intervention – which address individual, community, campus, and societal factors – have the greatest potential to effect positive and meaningful change.

“At the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, we are committed to ensuring a quality learning environment where students, faculty and staff feel respected and safe. Programming reflects a commitment to raising awareness about sexual harassment and promoting healthy relationships, as well as the realization we all have a role to play in preventing sexual assault,” stated Puszynski.

The campaign seeks to engage college students and all members of the campus community in preventing sexual violence in the first place. The campaign is launched in partnership with High Country Coca Cola, Northern Hills Sexual Response Team, along with student leadership from the Black Hills State University Title IX program and Athletics.

“There is great interest—national and local—on the topic of sexual violence, and people are eager to learn more about what they can do to prevent it,” BHSU Title IX Administrator Michael Isaacson said. “This campaign aims to engage everyone within the campus community — including students, administrators, professors, parents, and community members — to energize action and to help all of us see the roles we can play in eliminating sexual violence.”

Mines Athletic Director Joel Lueken added, Sexual violence prevention is priority for our athletic department. It’s our job in athletics to lead this charge on our campuses and we stand ready to do so.”

The football game kicks off at noon at Lyle Hare Stadium, BHSU, in Spearfish

4th of July Buzzed Driving Twitter Chat


Celebrate Your Freedom…

Because you designated a sober driver. 

Every year Americans head out on our nation’s highways to celebrate the Fourth of July at picnics, parties, parades and, of course, fireworks displays. Unfortunately, for many, the celebrating includes drinking alcohol, which too often leads to drunk driving on one of the most heavily traveled holidays of the year.

In preparation for this holiday, NHTSA is hosting a Twitter chat on June 29 from 3-4 p.m. ET to remind everyone that Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving. Experts will be available to answer questions and encourage followers to plan ahead for a sober ride home. Please spread the word and encourage your followers to join us. We’ll provide stats and tips on buzzed driving prevention, as well as shareable content for them to reach out to their families and friends. We’ve also got plenty of other resources available for you to help spread this life-saving message far and wide.

Who: NHTSA and our team of experts

What: Forth of July Buzzed Driving Twitter Chat

When: Wednesday, June 29, 3 – 4 p.m. ET


How: Follow the conversation using the hashtag #BuzzedDriving. Feel free to mention @NHTSAgov in any of your tweets and we will get back to as many questions and comments as we can! Remember to include #BuzzedDriving in your comments so others can follow along the conversation, too.

Invite your friends and followers to join us and help spread the important message about designating a sober driver and not getting behind the wheel while buzzed. Buzzed driving is completely preventable. All it takes is a little planning. So this Fourth of July, keep your freedom safe and designate a sober driver.