Jelili Ojodu

Recipient of the Gerard Loeber Award 2019

Mr. Jelili Ojodu studied Biological Sciences at the University of Maryland, followed by Maternal and Child Health at the George Washington University leading to a Master of Public Health degree. Subsequently he joined the Association of Public Health Laboratories in 2002, advancing through the newborn screening and genetics program and leading up to his current position as Director. Under Mr. Ojodu’ s leadership, APHL initiated projects that leveraged the organization’s domestic newborn screening coordination and technical assistance expertise to reach other countries. Mr. Ojodu has a long history of promoting newborn screening expansion through his participation and presentations at meetings across the globe. He is (co-)author of over 25 publications.

Mr. Ojodu collaborated with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Newborn Screening and Molecular Biology Branch to establish a newborn screening program for Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) in Ghana through the purchase of equipment and staff training. He assisted collaborators in Tanzania and Nigeria to pursue and obtain expertise, equipment, and filter paper for SCD screening. With the cooperation of state laboratory scientists, he organized SCD technical assistance for Haiti. He further led efforts to go beyond laboratory testing and coordinated the development of a program for training and certifying 28 genetic counsellors in Ghana.

Mr. Ojodu directs the tracking and facilitation of quality improvement efforts in the United States through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funded Newborn Screening Technical assistance and Evaluation Program (NewSTEPs). His vision has transformed how US newborn screening programs monitor quality indicators, such as the amount of time it takes from specimen collection to receipt by the laboratory. NewSTEPs has made a significant public health impact by collecting data from states that is then used to improve screening and follow-up practices across the US. NewSTEPs serves as a model for international newborn screening programs seeking to establish new practices or to improve existing ones.

Mr. Ojodu, through his domestic and international activities, has had a lasting effect on international newborn screening, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. He is a recognized international leader for developing newborn screening programs.

Ojodu-award ceremony 2

Jelili Ojodu received the Award from Gerard Loeber (left) and Sameer Saral (Labdiagnostics, right).

Ojodu-award ceremony 3