Genetic Diseases and Lead Poisoning Prevention 

The Louisiana Genetic Diseases Program was established in 1981 through a federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The purpose of the program continues to be the operation of a comprehensive newborn heel stick screening program meeting national standards as well as to ensure access to genetic evaluation and counseling to residents in all areas of Louisiana.

September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, which calls attention to Sickle Cell Disease (SCD), a genetic disorder that affects about 100,000 Americans according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Each year, approximately 80 infants are born with SCD in Louisiana.  It is estimated that there are approximately 3000 children and adults living with SCD in the state.  In the past, the life expectancy for patients living with SCD was not much past the twenties.  However, with improved identification and treatment, the life expectancy has greatly improved and patients can live well into their 60s with the proper resources.

Through the Genetic Diseases Program, the Louisiana Department of Health provides resources and information on how individuals diagnosed with sickle cell can receive assistance and care through the Sickle Cell Foundations and Clinics around the state. 

The Louisiana Sickle Cell Commission was established as a result of Act 117 (SB57) of the 2013 Regular Legislative Session required the Department of Health and Hospital to form the commission. The functions of the committee are to: 1) Ensure delivery of sickle cell services to affected person in all parishes in Louisiana and assist in establishing geographical service delivery boundaries, 2) Promulgate guidelines for creating uniformity of service delivery to sickle cell patients, 3) Submit budget recommendations to the legislature and the governor, prepare and publish an annual report on sickle cell. For the most recent Commission report, including information on current appointments, click here

Individuals can contact the Genetic Diseases Program for the Sickle Cell Foundation and Clinic in their region.

Also known as Globoid Cell Leukodystrohpy, Krabbe Disease is an inherited disorder that destroys the protective coating of nerve cells in the brain and throughout the nervous system. Click here to download more information about Krabbe disease, including information on screening. 

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