Full Conference Agenda

Home / Schedule / Full Conference Agenda

Abstract Details

<< Back to Detailed Agenda

10/10/2023  |   2:45 PM - 3:10 PM   |  6613

Tips for Developing Your States CMV Legislative Priorities to Address Screenings, Education and Public Awareness

Abstract Summary

There are significant differences in how states screen, educate, and provide public awareness in the state regarding CMV infection. The range in mandates span from requiring education about CMV on a public-access website to mandated universal newborn screening. This variation creates challenges within clinical care, especially for institutions that operate in a region such as the Mid-Atlantic. After several years, and many grassroots attempts to better identify cCMV cases, throughout the Mid-Atlantic, a team of professionals joined together to share their diverse knowledge, past experiences, and available resources. This Mid-Atlantic CMV Consortium of diverse professionals aimed to engage government institutions, hospitals, birth centers, the National CMV Foundation, American Cochlear Implant Alliance, Early Hearing Detection and Intervention programs. Meetings were established with multiple stakeholders; parents, physicians, audiologists, and government relations professionals from Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC to share ideas and develop goals. Working together is allowing for brainstorming of new pathways for successful identification using dried blood spot testing, offering public education and awareness, and the drafting of legislation for consideration at the next Delaware state session by modeling legislation from other states that successfully passed CMV related bills. Making change requires dedicated individuals who bring varied perspectives to the table. Our experience in attempting to move this forward with only our in-house team was not successful as compared to the move achieved since the consortium was developed. The work of the consortium is not yet complete. The current focus is comprehensive legislation for the state of Delaware with the goal of mandated education for women of childbearing age, expectant mothers, and professions. Additionally, language is being drafted for universal newborn screening for cCMV to ensure that the newborn screening being conducted in DE is inclusive of physiologic, genetic, and cytomegalovirus testing.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify key stakeholders within your state interested in CMV legislation
  • List three priorities that CMV legislation can potentially address
  • Discuss ways to move CMV initiatives forward within the state






Melissa Stone Mengistu | POC-Point of Contact, Primary Presenter, Author, Co-Author

Melissa Stone Mengistu, MSEd, CCC-SLP is currently the Outcomes and Outreach Coordinator of the Pediatric Communication Center at Nemours Children’s Health, Delaware. Prior to this appointment she was working as a Lead Speech Pathologist in the Outpatient Therapy Department of Nemours Children’s Health, Delaware since 2010. Melissa has worked in several different settings, including The Melmark School in Berwyn, PA as a Speech Pathologist. Speaking From the Heart Early Intervention with Chester County, PA as a Speech Pathologist. Theraplay in West Chester, PA as a Speech Pathologist. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communicative Disorders and Sciences and a Master’s of Science and Education degree in Speech Pathology with a Teaching Certification in New York and Pennsylvania. She is actively involved in the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and currently sits as a board member for the Delaware Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Advisory Board.


Financial - No relevant financial relationship exists.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exists.


Financial -

Julie Verhoff | POC-Point of Contact, Author

Audiology Manager at the Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware. Her clinical interests focus on early detection and hearing intervention, cochlear implants, process improvement, and training future clinicians. Dr. Verhoff holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences and Family Studies from the University of New Mexico, a clinical Doctor of Audiology degree from The University of Texas at Dallas, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Audiology from Gallaudet University. She is actively involved in the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s Government Relations and Public Policy board, a state champion for the American Cochlear Implant Alliance, and served on several boards for the American Academy of Audiology, Educational Audiology Association, Association for the Advancement of Medical Instruments Cochlear Implant Committee, Delaware Early Hearing Detection and Intervention, and a trainer for the Global Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss.


Financial - Receives Salary for Employment from Nemours Children's Health.  

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exists.


Financial - Receives support from Nemours Children's Health for Employment/Salary.