CENTENNIAL, Colo. (KDVR) — The infant formula shortage left rows of empty store shelves and put desperate parents in a bind for feeding their babies just last year.

Now, a local doctor is conducting a study of a formula shipped in from overseas to see if it can help shore up supplies in the U.S. long-term.

At Advanced Pediatric Associates, the heart of the practice is centered around healthy little ones.

“Babies are my thing,” Dr. Stephanie Stevens said. “I really love children and making sure that we’re able to do everything that we can for the babies in our community is really important to me.”

Stevens sees formula shortage impacts

Stevens has been a pediatrician for decades. Over the last two years, she saw firsthand the impact of dwindling formula supplies.

“Many families really struggled with trying to figure out how to feed their babies,” Stevens said. “They were using formula. The babies were growing and thriving, and all of a sudden they had this fear that they wouldn’t be able to get formula.”

Stevens saw a lifeline when the federal government allowed foreign infant formula manufacturers to bring their products into the U.S. She’s compelled to lead a study in the metro area looking to keep one of those brands, the Australian-based company Bubs, around long-term.

“Bubs airlifted over a million pounds of infant formula and they were first to bring it in May of 2022. Under the enforcement discretion, these formula manufacturers can bring their products in and they’re grandfathered, if you will, through the end of 2025. But in order to stay longer and become a permanent fixture in the marketplace, they do have to provide the data that’s required by the Infant Formula Act,” said Validcare’s Chief Operating Officer Rod Nuss. “They also have to prove that they’re babies that are exclusively fed their products grow like other products that are approved in the U.S. now.”

Moms, babies needed for Colorado studies

Stevens will conduct the Colorado studies. Organizers are looking for infants to start before they are 14 days old to measure their growth over 4 months after consuming exclusively Bubs formula. 

“I think it’s been a great formula,” Stevens said. “It’s been a life-saving measure for a lot of families, and to be able to have another option in the U.S. for formula is always a good thing.” 

Moms and babies who participate are guaranteed a six-month supply of infant formula and will receive six free office visits (and transportation as needed), as well as $50 compensation for each visit.

Interested participants can sign up at validcare.com/formula-study.

The study is also being conducted in: Tampa, Florida; West Palm Beach, Florida; Pittsburgh; Austin, Texas; Phoenix; Lincoln, Nebraska; Mobile, Alabama; Owensboro, Kentucky; Gresham, Oregon; Idaho Falls; Oklahoma City; Las Vegas; Henderson, Nevada; Slidell, Louisiana; and Macon, Georgia.