|NIH Announces Addition of 22 New Study Centers
in National Children's Study
The National Children's Study announced today that it awarded
contracts in late September to 22 new study centers to manage participant
recruitment and data collection in 26 additional communities across
the United States. Funding for the new study centers and the study's
initial phase is a result of a $69 million appropriation from Congress
in fiscal year 2007.
The National Children’s Study is the largest study to be conducted
on the effects of environmental and genetic factors on child and
human health in the United States. The study will follow a representative
sample of 100,000 children from before birth to age 21, seeking
information to prevent and treat some of the nation's most pressing
health problems, including autism, birth defects, diabetes, heart
disease, and obesity.
"The National Children's Study is poised to identify the
early antecedents of a broad array of diseases that affect both
children and adults," said Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., Director
of the National Institutes of Health. "Such insights will
lead to the means to successfully treat and even prevent conditions
that to date have defied our best efforts."
"Today's announcement represents a milestone for the National
Children's Study," said Duane Alexander, M.D., Director of
the NIH's National Institute of Child Health and Human Development,
at today's briefing. "The addition of new study centers will
move the study closer to its goal of recruiting more than 100,000
children representative of the entire population of American children.”
"Study researchers will examine not only what children are
eating and drinking, but what's in the air they breathe, what's
in the dust in their homes, and their possible exposures to chemicals
from materials used to construct their homes and schools," Alexander
said. "The researchers also will analyze blood and other biological
samples from study participants to test for exposure to environmental
factors and examine whether those factors might influence their
The announcement was made today in Washington, D.C.
The study centers will manage the study in 20 states. There are
study locations in both urban and rural areas. Fifteen locations
are in the Eastern part of the country, and 11 are in the West.
(See page 3 for a complete list of Centers and the locations they
The National Children's Study began in response to the Children's
Health Act of 2000, when Congress directed the NICHD and other
federal agencies to undertake a national, long-term study of children's
health and development in relation to environmental exposures.
(See: Section 1004, http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=106_cong_bills&docid=f:h4365enr.txt.)
Today's announcement of new study centers follows earlier study
milestones, including the 2004 announcement of the 105 study locations
and the establishment of the Vanguard centers (the first seven
centers, established in 2005).
The study is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services (including the National Institute
of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of
Environmental Health Sciences at the NIH, and the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Dr. Alexander explained that the new study centers were selected
based on rigorous criteria: a strong ability to collect data for
the study, the ability to build extensive community networks for
recruiting eligible women and newborns, and a demonstrated capability
to protect the privacy of the information collected on participants.
The centers consist of universities, hospitals, and health departments,
or represent collaborations between these or other organizations.
"The centers will begin hiring and training staff, meeting
with local community groups and health care professionals to inform
them about the study, and forming community advisory boards to
inform communities about developments in a range of study-related
issues," said Peter Scheidt, M.D., M.P.H., director of the
National Children's Study.
"Building trusting relationships with community leaders will
be critical to the success of the study's recruitment efforts," said
Yvonne Maddox, Ph.D., Deputy Director of the NICHD. She explained
that teams from each study center will engage in community-based
grassroots campaigns to explain the potential benefits of the study,
build relationships with area health care providers, and reach
out to parenting groups and other organizations offering health
information and support to families.
In total, the study is planned to be conducted in 105 previously
designated study locations across the United States that together
are representative of the entire U.S. population. As Dr. Maddox
explained, a national probability sample was used to select the
counties in the study, which took into account factors including
race and ethnicity, income, education level, number of births,
and number of babies born with low birth weights.
Additional information about the National Children's Study is
available from http://www.nationalchildrensstudy.gov.
The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth;
maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population
issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit
the Institute's Web site at http://www.nichd.nih.gov.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and
Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting
and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research,
and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both
common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and
its programs, visit www.nih.gov.