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Our Service

Pregnancy Risk Network of Ferre Institute:

Working with women, families, and healthcare providers to reduce birth defects

pregnant woman

Mission Statement:
To be an accessible, comprehensive New York State teratogen information service providing information and counseling about harmful exposures related to pregnancy and breastfeeding, and communicating up-to date accurate information in an understandable way.

The Pregnancy Risk Network (PRN) is a comprehensive teratogen service and program of Ferre Institute located in Binghamton, NY.

The PRN is staffed by trained teratogen information specialists and genetic counselors who provide information about possible effects of medications, maternal illness, drugs and other exposures on the developing embryo/fetus and newborn. This service is provided to residents of New York who are pregnant, who are planning a pregnancy, or who are breastfeeding, and to their health care providers.

There are many exposures in pregnancy. Few are known teratogens. Reliable information about exposures can be difficult to find and challenging to interpret. At PRN specific conditions and factors relating to an exposure are considered in order to better understand what impact, if any, an exposure may have on pregnancy.

Teratogen Information Specialists at Pregnancy Risk Network have access to authoritative databases and medical literature, a team of genetic counselors and a network of national experts in the field of teratology (the scientific study of the causes of birth defects.)

Collaborations

Pregnancy Risk Network, along with collaborative partners, help to reduce birth defects

To make information on exposures accessible to all of New York State, PRN is reaching out to underserved communities through the established relationships with family planning agencies, prenatal care programs, community health clinics, and genetic services across the state. PRN has a long history of collaborating with many other NYS agencies committed to reducing the impact of birth defects:

 

PRN Staff

Mark Roth, Teratogen Information Specialist

Mark Roth

Mark Roth is a teratogen information specialist with the Pregnancy Risk Network of Ferre Institute. He brings his diverse background and talents to this interdisciplinary role. He is a member of the Organization of Teratogen Information Specialists (OTIS) and he is an active member of the OTIS Education Committee. He has completed the Harvard Teratogen Course and his teratogen interests span from pharmacogenomics to maternal metabolism as a modifier. Mark is always eager to fully research and answer questions from callers.

Lindsey Morse MS, CGC, Senior Genetic Counselor

Lindsey Morse

Lindsey Morse, MS, CGC received her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Molecular Genetics from the University of Vermont and her Master of Science from Brandeis University Genetic Counseling Training Program.  She joined the Community Genetics Program of the Ferre Institute in 2006 and received her board certification by the American Board of Genetic Counseling in 2007.  Lindsey counsels patients in all areas of genetics from prenatal genetics to adult genetics; however, she is particularly interested in issues surrounding family health history collection and access to genetic services in underserved populations.  She also serves as a consultant with the NYS Pregnancy Risk Network Teratogen Information Service (MothertoBaby New York) and lectures on a variety of genetic issues to community organizations including high school and university students, physicians, and community health programs.  Lindsey is a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors, the American College of Medical Genetics, the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists and the Genetic Alliance.

Erin E. Houghton, MS, CGC, Associate Director/Genetic Counselor

Erin Houghton

Erin E. Houghton, MS, CGC received her genetic counseling master’s degree from the University of California, Irvine, in 2004.  While studying at UC Irvine, she performed research in the field of cancer genetics by completing a thesis entitled “Factors Associated with Pre-Genetic Counseling Distress Levels in Women at Risk for Hereditary Breast/Ovarian Cancer.”  Erin received her board certification from the American Board of Genetic Counseling in September 2005.  She is currently employed by Ferre Institute, Inc. as the Associate Director where she assists with oversight of Ferre’s Genetic Counseling Program and Infertility Education Program.  As a genetic counselor, her clinical interests include cancer and adult genetics.  She has been involved in the development of resources for family health history initiatives, as well as Ferre Institute’s websites and programs.  In addition to her genetic counseling role, Erin serves as the Co-Project Director for Ferre Institute’s Infertility Education Program where she has assisted with the development of resources for individuals facing infertility and their health care practitioners, as well as underserved populations (Infertility in the Deaf Community and the Families of Color Initiative).  Prior to her genetic counseling training, Erin was employed as a biochemist with Merck Research Laboratories and was directly involved in vaccine development.

Luba Djurdjinovic MS, Program Director/Genetic Counselor

luba

Luba Djurdjinovic, MS is the Executive Director of Ferre Institute, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides services in genetics and reproductive health. She is Director of its Genetic Counseling Program. She is a practicing genetic counselor with clinical interests in issues of infertility, familial cancer histories and most recently, cardiovascular genetics. She has been a principle investigator on several projects. In 2000, Luba completed 19 years on the on the adjunct faculty at the School Social Work in Syracuse, New York. She is the past president of the National Society of Genetic Counselors and a recipient of the 2001 Natalie Weissberger Paul National Achievement Award. In 2005, she received special recognition from the Alliance of Genetics Supports (an international organization representing genetic support groups). Luba is an author in a leading textbook for genetic counseling students and lectures extensively.

Adrienne Sullivan, Administration and Special Projects Coordinator

Adrienne Sullivan earned a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration from Elmira College in New York State. She began her employment with Ferre Institute in 2005 as a student intern doing special projects, and then later transitioned to her current position of Project Manager. Adrienne has a hand in all of the programs at Ferre, playing a major role in the Pregnancy Risk Network. Adrienne triages caller inquiries, and collects and maintains data for several important databases. Adrienne assists the Teratogen Information Specialists with reporting data to the national organization for continual grant funding.

 

Our History

History

Pregnancy Risk Network was established in 1989 in Buffalo NY by Dr. Luther Robinson, Pediatric Dysmorphologist at the Children’s Hospital, Buffalo, NY. At that time, the information service was administered by a not for profit, People Inc., based in Buffalo NY. The mission of the organization limited the program’s services to western NY. In 2002, Ferre Institute was approached by the March of Dimes, NYS Perinatal Association, and representatives from the NYS Department of Health to “adopt” this important service to assure that it can serve all of New York State.

Learn more about the unique programs and services offered by Ferre Institute

 

Funding

Funding Sources

Pregnancy Risk Network, a non-profit 501(c) organization, is funded by the New York State Department of Health and MothertoBaby, a service of the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists.

Funding from MotherToBaby comes to us through an initiative of the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

In addition, as a free service and a non-profit program we rely on support from donors like you. To make a tax-deductible donation please link to our donation page.

We are proud to be an affiliated service of  MotherToBaby, an organization of teratogen information specialist in the US.  Currently we are one of a handful of teratogen information services(TIS) in the US. This network of TIS has launched a new initiative with the Health Resources and Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services. 

The initiative known as the Reproductive and Environmental Health Network  will coordinate  all the teratogen services  to improve maternal and fetal health outcomes through provision of education, individualized counseling, improved access to resources, and advancing the knowledge base related to the safety of exposures to medications and environmental agents before, during and after pregnancy.