Center Research Publications Prevention Resources Surveillance Home

Surveillance

Arkansas Reproductive Health Monitoring System

Established in 1980 as a pilot program, the Arkansas Reproductive Health Monitoring System (ARHMS) is one of the oldest active birth defects surveillance systems in the United States. In 1985, Arkansas State Legislature enacted legislation that provides ARHMS the authority to operate a birth defects registry.

ARHMS monitors and collects data on birth defects throughout the state. ARHMS supports the activities of the Arkansas Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention by serving as an experienced and timely data collecting system and reporting prevalence trends in the state.

As an active health surveillance system, ARHMS Health Information Specialists visit 83 hospitals in Arkansas and regional hospitals that provide obstetrical or pediatric care for case identification and abstraction.

All AHRMS cases are abstracted from hospital records and only cases diagnosed by physicians are included in the registry. In addition, ARHMS also detects trends in birth defects.

There are many important ways that birth defect registries like ARHMS can help improve the health of the public.

These registries can be used to identify trends in the prevalence of birth defects as the basis for studies of the causes of and risk factors for birth defects.

Trends and clusters of birth defects may be due to factors such as demographic changes or the introduction of a new teratogen, which is a substance that causes birth defects.

Identifying and testing theories about potential risk factors will lead to a better understanding of the causes of birth defects and help us to prevent future defects.

To be included as a case in the ARHMS Registry:

  • A child must have a birth defect diagnosed when he or she is less than age 2.
  • The case must be ascertained before the child’s fifth birthday.
  • All cases are abstracted from hospital records, and only diagnoses that have been made by a physician are included in ARHMS.

Confidentiality Statement

The Arkansas Reproductive Health Monitoring System (ARHMS) is committed to maintaining optimum confidentiality standards. The release of identifying health data verbal or written without proper authorization and/or State legislative requirement is strictly prohibited. All ARHMS employees must sign a letter of confidentiality upon hiring and must attend an inservice regarding confidentiality guidelines. Continuous quality improvements’ training is provided quarterly to maintain and educate employee knowledge and compliance with confidentiality standards. Employees are made aware that they must uphold these confidentiality standards during and after their employment with ARHMS.

Pew Commission Report

The activities of both ARHMS and the Arkansas Center have been nationally recognized by the Pew Environmental Commission at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. In its report, "Healthy from the Start: Why America Needs a Better System to Track and Understand Birth Defects and the Environment." Commission researchers evaluated each state's system against the Commission's model criteria and assigned a letter grade from A" to "F" to each state's system.

Only eight states, including Arkansas, came close enough to model criteria to achieve the top grade. All eight are active systems that extend through the first 12 months of life, collect information on stillbirths as well as live births, and have research capacity. A total of 25 states received a "B" or "C" and a total of 17 states received an "F".

For more information, visit the Pew Environmental Commission website: http://pewenvirohealth.jhsph.edu.

Contact Information

If you would like additional information about ARHMS, please contact us by phone or email.

Charlotte Hobbs, M.D., Ph.D., Scientific Director
Telephone: 501 364-5000 or toll free: 1-877-662-4567

Bridget Mosley, M.P.H., Assistant Scientific Director/ARHMS
Telephone: 501 364-5000 or toll free: 1-877-662-4567

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

Arkansas Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention
13 Children's Way, Mail Slot 512-40
Little Rock, Arkansas 72204
1-877-662-4567 toll free

ACH.ARCenter@uams.edu