People and Organisations United for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus

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PUSH! Global Alliance - Our leadership

Godfrey  P.  Oakley

Godfrey P. Oakley< back

Dr. Godfrey Oakley is the Director of the Center for Spina Bifida Prevention and a Research Professor in the Department of Epidemiology of the Rollins
School of Public Health of Emory University, and the former Director of the Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. While at CDC, he and his team provided the scientific and policy leadership critical to persuading the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to mandate folic acid fortification of “enriched” flour to help prevent spina bifida, a serious and disabling birth defect.
Acknowledged as a worldwide expert in the field, Dr. Oakley actively monitors the scientific and policy issues related to folic acid worldwide, and provides accurate and timely information to those considering fortification. Center for Spina Bifida Prevention 
He is board certified in pediatrics, genetics, and preventive medicine and is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine.
Dr. Oakley attended Duke University and graduated from the Bowman Gray School of Medicine of Wake Forest University. He did his pediatric training at the Cleveland
Metropolitan General Hospital and earned a Master of Science in Preventive Medicine and a Fellowship in Teratology at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He has authored and co-authored numerous scientific papers and served as president of the Teratology Society and Chairman of the International Clearinghouse of Birth Defects Monitoring Systems.
Among his awards have been, Distinguished Alumnus Award, University of Washington School of Public Health; Herbert L. Needleman Medal and Award for Outstanding Scientific Contributions and Advocacy on Behalf of Child Health, American Public Health Association; The Bowman-Gray Medical Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award for Accomplishments and Contributions to the Profession of Medicine; Agnes Higgins Award for Outstanding Scientific Contributions to the Field of Maternal-Fetal Nutrition, Nutrition and Maternal and Child Health Sections of the American Public Health Association and the March of Dimes;
The Watson Medal for Distinguished Service, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s highest award;
Wolfson Prize in Preventive Medicine; 2010 Bock Prize and Lectureship in Developmental Biology and Genetics; Department of Pediatrics, Jefferson Medical College and the Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children of The Nemours Foundation; The John Snow Award from the Epidemiology Section of the American Public Health Association for distinguished service to the health of the public through outstanding contributions to epidemiology; American College of Epidemiology, first recipient of the Applied Epidemiology Award; Spina Bifida Association: Lifetime Achievement Award;
13th Wolfson Institute Lecture, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Center for Environmental and Preventive Medicine, Barts and The London Queens Mary University of London:
The prevention of birth defects: a global problem requiring urgent action;
and The National Birth Defects Prevention Network established the Godfrey Oakley Award. In addition he was the Peter Jennings ABC “World News Tonight” Person of the Week, March 1996.


Center for Spina Bifida Research

Mission: PUSH! Unites organizations as the global voice to accelerate spina bifida and hydrocephalus prevention, and to realize optimal care and better quality of life for those affected.

Folic acid food fortification is simple, affordable and proven intervention to prevent the occurrence of folic acid preventable-spina bifida and anencephaly; and prevent excess mortality associated with them. In spite of this knowledge, only 15 percent of these birth defects are currently prevented worldwide. At the Emory University’s Center for Spina Bifida Prevention, we track global prevention of spina bifida and anencephaly, and work with governmental and non-governmental organizations, community leaders, physicians and parents, and other key stakeholders to develop science-based evidence for folic acid food fortification. Through our partnerships, we aim at supporting the implementation of folic acid food fortification, monitor its effectiveness, and prevent spina bifida and anencephaly worldwide. We are glad to be collaborating with PUSH!

Godfrey P. Oakley Jr., Director of the Center for Spina Bifida Research, Prevention and Policy, Emory University, Atlanta, USA.