Who We Are

Who We Are

Our Story

Early Check is led by RTI International, a nonprofit research institute whose mission is to improve the human condition by turning knowledge into practice. RTI's headquarters are in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Early Check grew out of research on improving the lives of individuals and families affected by special healthcare needs by RTI and our partners. Read more about our story.

Who are our partners?

Our team brings multiple perspectives that will help us achieve our goal to improve the well-being of babies and families across the state and beyond.

We are working with the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health (NCSLPH) to make Early Check possible. Early Check uses the same blood sample taken from a newborn’s heel in the hospital. NCSLPH conducts the tests on these blood samples for all babies born in the state.

Our other partners include the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Wake Forest School of Medicine, and Duke University.

Meet our team members.

"The North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health is excited to be advancing the science of newborn screening through our partnership with RTI."

– Scott J. Zimmerman, DrPH, MPH, Director of NCSLPH

Scott Zimmerman

Our Funders

Early Check is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences program. It will receive $1 million per year over 5 years to launch and sustain the program statewide.

Other support is provided by:

Meet Our Team

Our team brings a range of expertise to newborn screening, including medical genetics; laboratory testing; genetic counseling; health communication; public health; informed decision making; ethics; family adaptation; special education; and child assessment.

Click the links below to meet the RTI team and our partners.

Don Bailey, PhD Distinguished Fellow and Director of the Center for Newborn Screening, Ethics and Disability Studies
Lisa Gehtland, MD Research Public Health Analyst
Megan Lewis, PhD Senior Research Scientist and Director of the Patient and Family Engagement Research Program
Ryan Paquin, PhD Research Public Health Analyst
Holly Peay, PhD, CGC Senior Research Public Health Analyst
Melissa Raspa, PhD Senior Research Public Health Analyst
Jennifer Taylor, PhD Research Public Health Analyst
Anne Wheeler, PhD Senior Research Public Health Analyst
Scott Shone, PhD, HCLD(ABB) Senior Research Public Health Analyst
Beth Boyea, MS Certified Genetic Counselor Center for Newborn Screening, Ethics, and Disability Studies
Katherine "Casey" Okoniewski, PhD Psychologist Center for Newborn Screening, Ethics, and Disability Studies
Scott J. Zimmerman, DrPH, MPH, HCLD (ABB) Director

Dr. Zimmerman is a career public health laboratory director with a long-standing history of commitment to innovative public health programs and diagnostic laboratory solutions. In his current role, Dr. Zimmerman is directly responsible for the technical and scientific oversight of existing laboratory programs and for new initiatives, including the development, validation, and implementation of technologies and algorithms to detect and report genetic and inborn metabolic disorders. For Early Check, he serves as the primary liaison between RTI and the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health to ensure that the laboratory component of project development and implementation is well orchestrated.

Cynthia Powell, MD, MS Professor of Pediatrics and Genetics
Zheng (Jane) Fan, MD Associate Professor of Child Neurology, Sleep Medicine & Clinical Genetics
Kristin L. Clinard, MS, CGC Genetic Counselor & Clinical Instructor Division of Genetics and Metabolism, Department of Pediatrics
Michael Charles Cotten, MD Professor of Pediatrics Chief, Division of Neonatology
Nancy M. P. King, JD Professor of Social Sciences and Health Policy and Codirector of the Center for Bioethics, Health, and Society
Christine Bishop, MD, MA Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Jennifer Faith Check, MD, MS Assistant Professor of Pediatrics