The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recognized health professionals at the CDC who work “tirelessly every day to promote the health of people of all ages.” Dr. Sonja Rasmussen, a 1990 graduate of the College of Medicine and a senior scientist in the CDC’s division of birth defects and developmental disabilities, was one of those selected as a Health Protection Hero.
Rasmussen, who first became interested in the efforts of the CDC while in medical school, has been working to improve the lives of mothers and children for more than a decade. She emphasizes the importance of investing in public health research to identify what can be done to help prevent illness and suffering, and to save money in the long run.
Her research has led to a better understanding of the causes of birth defects because of factors such as drinking alcohol, smoking, taking certain medicines and maternal obesity. She also studies genetic factors. In the next 10 years, Rasmussen says, her goal is to discover more solutions and implement additional strategies to protect the health of America’s families.
“I am optimistic that this research will lead to improved lives and healthier Americans,” she says. “And since it can take up to a generation to see results, support and investment must be multipronged and sustained.”