Who We Are

Your Greatest Resource for Healthy Pregnancies

The Center for Better Beginnings is one of North America’s foremost institutes for breakthrough pregnancy research and education in maternal health and child development. Our team consists of world-renowned medical professionals and researchers who are at the top of their field and who are supported by a dedicated staff. Within UC San Diego’s Department of Pediatrics, our Center houses multiple programs that are actively generating research, disseminating knowledge, and engaging in public service. Healthy pregnancies and healthy babies are our priority and our passion.

Our Vision

To end preventable birth defects and other adverse pregnancy outcomes, and to improve pre- and postnatal outcomes for both the person who is pregnant and their baby.

Our Goal

To improve the health of all families through:

  • Innovative pregnancy research that improves our knowledge of the causes of preventable birth defects and adverse pregnancy outcomes;
  • Clinical services that are state-of-the-art, comprehensive, and family-centered; and
  • Evidenced-based education that empowers the next generation of professionals and parents.

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  • History

    From Breaking Ground to Groundbreaking Discoveries

    When babies are born healthy, everyone thrives. The Center for Better Beginnings at UC San Diego has been organizing efforts since 1974 based on this vision of success. As a natural extension of the Department of Pediatrics, the history of the Center for Better Beginnings stems from early discoveries of how environmental factors can influence a baby’s development. Optimal prenatal care, the avoidance of harmful substances, and the prevention of illness in pregnancy requires improved healthcare and health practices, and we’re glad to be at the forefront of these activities through our illustrious past, groundbreaking present, and ambitious future.

    Learn more about these early discoveries and the many contributions made to the field by the esteemed Center for Better Beginnings team.

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  • Leadership

    Experts Like No Other

    The Center for Better Beginnings leaders, Dr. Christina D. Chambers, Dr. Kenneth Lyons Jones, and Dr. Miguel del Campo, are involved in active clinical and epidemiological research programs at UC San Diego, and collaborate with scientists across the United States and internationally. They maintain a strong commitment to teaching at the undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral levels, and participate in many programs for trainees in the areas of pediatrics, dysmorphology, teratology, genetics, epidemiology, pharmacology and behavioral health. In addition, Dr. Kenneth Lyons Jones sees patients at UCSD Pediatric Associates and Dr. Miguel del Campo at Rady Children’s Hospital FASD Clinic.

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  • Publications & Funding

    Advancing the Margins of Knowledge | Research on Pregnancy & Birth Defects Publications

    At the heart of the Center for Better Beginnings is an active pregnancy research program, including related publications, that help improve and advance our understanding of the causes of preventable birth defects. Our partners in these efforts include other universities, government agencies, non-profit organizations, hospitals, health care providers, biomedical research institutions and pharmaceutical companies. Our work is getting noticed on campus, in the community and around the world.

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  • Diversity

    Providing Equal Opportunities to Healthy Lives

    The Center for Better Beginnings is leading efforts in building a more representative, equitable and inclusive community that provides opportunities for everyone to reach their fullest potential.

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