(a) In general
The Secretary, acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shall expand and intensify programs (directly or through grants or contracts) for the following purposes:
(1) To provide education and training for health professionals and the general public for purposes of explaining the effects of folic acid in preventing birth defects and for purposes of encouraging each woman of reproductive capacity (whether or not planning a pregnancy) to consume on a daily basis a dietary supplement that provides an appropriate level of folic acid.
(2) To conduct research with respect to such education and training, including identifying effective strategies for increasing the rate of consumption of folic acid by women of reproductive capacity.
(3) To conduct research to increase the understanding of the effects of folic acid in preventing birth defects, including understanding with respect to cleft lip, cleft palate, and heart defects.
(4) To provide for appropriate epidemiological activities regarding folic acid and birth defects, including epidemiological activities regarding neural tube defects.
(b) Consultations with States and private entities
In carrying out subsection (a), the Secretary shall consult with the States and with other appropriate public or private entities, including national nonprofit private organizations, health professionals, and providers of health insurance and health plans.
(c) Technical assistance
The Secretary may (directly or through grants or contracts) provide technical assistance to public and nonprofit private entities in carrying out the activities described in subsection (a).
The Secretary shall (directly or through grants or contracts) provide for the evaluation of activities under subsection (a) in order to determine the extent to which such activities have been effective in carrying out the purposes of the program under such subsection, including the effects on various demographic populations. Methods of evaluation under the preceding sentence may include surveys of knowledge and attitudes on the consumption of folic acid and on blood folate levels. Such methods may include complete and timely monitoring of infants who are born with neural tube defects.
(e) Authorization of appropriations
For the purpose of carrying out this section, there are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary for each of the fiscal years 2001 through 2005.