The Professional Scientific Society Behind MotherToBaby
The Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS) is the professional scientific society made up of the experts that provide the MotherToBaby service and the researchers that conduct MotherToBaby Pregnancy Studies. OTIS was established in 1987 as a way of connecting world-renowned experts in the field of birth defects research to the general public. OTIS was incorporated in April 1999 as a non-profit organization. In 2002, OTIS established a national call routing system so that anyone in the United States and Canada calling the toll-free number would be routed to an affiliated service to speak with an expert. In 2013, OTIS announced MotherToBaby, a name for its public-facing service and research studies. For over 30 years, our experts have provided the most cutting-edge and up-to-date information about the risks of environmental exposures during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
OTIS and its information service, MotherToBaby, will be the world’s leading source of evidence-based information on exposures during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Our Mission Statement
OTIS is a professional scientific organization comprised of experts engaged in assessing and evaluating risks to pregnancy and breastfeeding outcomes from medications and other exposures. OTIS members support and contribute to worldwide initiatives for teratology education and research. MotherToBaby, the public information service of OTIS, is dedicated to providing evidence-based information to parents, health professionals, and the general public about medications and other exposures during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Our Core Values
- Empowering women, health professionals, and the public by educating them with accurate, up-to-date information about the effects of exposures during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, enabling informed decision-making.
- Reducing the risk of preventable birth defects and other disabilities by educating mothers, health professionals, and the public about specific agents of concern.
- Facilitating ongoing professional development, communication, and collaboration among OTIS membership and affiliated MotherToBaby services.
- Contributing to the worldwide literature in the field of human teratology by education and research.
OTIS is governed by a board of directors, an elected body consisting of a president, president elect, immediate past president, secretary, treasurer, and three members-at-large. OTIS has an executive director who manages the OTIS National Office located in Brentwood, Tennessee. OTIS also has several working committees including education, research, website, abstract, public affairs, meeting planning, elections, and membership.
Sarah Običan, MD | President, MotherToBaby/OTIS
Dr. Običan is the Medical Director of MotherToBaby Florida. She is a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist specializing in maternal-fetal medicine, with particular research and clinical interest in teratology, fetal echocardiography and fetal therapy. She completed her Doctor of Medicine at the University of Miami School of Medicine, a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at George Washington University, and maternal-fetal medicine fellowship training at the Columbia University Medical Center. She is also fellowship trained in reproductive teratology and toxicology. Dr. Običan is an Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, division of Maternal Fetal Medicine.
The 2021 Board of Directors
President | Sarah G. Običan, MD
President-Elect | Al Romeo, RN, PhD
Past President | Christina D. Chambers, PhD, MPH
Treasurer | Beth Kiernan, MPH
Secretary | Marsha Leen-Mitchell
Member-at-Large | Claire Coles, PhD
Member-at-Large | Lorrie Harris Sagaribay, MPH
Member-at-Large | Sharon Lavigne, MS, LGC
OTIS receives funding from a number of different sources including:
- Membership Dues
- Donations from both private individuals and from companies and businesses. If you are interested in making a donation, visit our Donate page.
- Grants: OTIS applies for and has received grants from government sources. We are currently supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UG4MC27861, “Reproductive and Environmental Health Network” (total award amount $6,000,000 over five years; 28% financed with nongovernmental sources). The information or content and conclusions contained on this website are those of MotherToBaby and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.
- MotherToBaby Pregnancy Studies. OTIS conducts pregnancy registries for pharmaceutical companies and other research organizations.
MotherToBaby affiliates are generally individually funded at the state or provincial level.
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