Director of Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme honoured
Longtime director of the Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme (NMSP) Dr Dianne Webster was awarded the Companion of the NZ Order of Merit on New Year’s day for services to health, particularly paediatrics.
Fittingly, the award coincided with the 50th anniversary of the programme to which Dr Webster has contributed so much.
The NMSP, New Zealand's longest running national screening programme, tests dried blood samples collected from newborn babies for a number of serious or life-threatening conditions.
During Dr Webster’s 30 years as director, more than 1.5 million babies have been screened and hundreds have either had their life saved or quality of life dramatically improved by their newborn screen.
Astrid Koornneef, Group Manger of the National Screening Unit, which strongly supported Dr Webster's nomination, says the internationally renowned clinician has dedicated her life to saving or improving the lives of babies and children through her leadership of the screening programme.
"Dianne's expertise is of great value, not only the NMSP, but to other, newer national screening programmes. We appreciate her astute leadership of the national antenatal screening programme for Down syndrome and other conditions and invaluable informal contributions that she has made to the development of both newborn hearing.
Natasha Heather, Paediatric Endocrinologist and Clinical Fellow Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme (pictured above) was presented with the Dussault Medal for Young Investigators for her work on metabolic screening at a recent international meeting of the International Society for Neonatal Screening in Hangzhou, China.