About the ECHO Program

The ECHO Program has two major components, the ECHO cohorts — for observational research, and the ECHO IDeA States Pediatric Clinical Trials Network (ISPCTN) — for intervention research. Learn more about the ECHO Program through our Program Organizational Chart and ECHO Strategic Plan.


To enhance the health of children for generations to come.

ECHO’s Five Health Outcomes

ECHO research focuses on five key pediatric outcomes that have a high public health impact:

  • Pre-, peri-, and postnatal outcomes
  • Upper and lower airway
  • Obesity
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Positive health

ECHO Cohorts

In addition to supporting individual cohort science, the main aim of the ECHO cohorts is to bring separate cohorts together into one large ECHO-wide Cohort so that ECHO investigators and the wider community of scientists can address research questions about effects of a broad range of early environmental exposures on child health and development, questions that no single cohort, or even a few, can answer alone. The cohorts consist of children and their mothers (and some fathers). In most cases, cohorts recruited participants prenatally; all cohorts are following children long-term.

Standardized Core Data Elements

The cohorts share standardized core data elements managed by a central coordinating center and an associated data analysis center. Although each cohort is unique, the collection of data in a similar way ensures that all information can be combined and used by researchers. The core elements addressed across all studies are:

  • Demographics
  • Typical early health and development
  • Genetic influences on early childhood health and development
  • Environmental factors
  • Patient/Person (parent and child) Reported Outcomes (PROs)

The ECHO cohorts capitalize on existing participant populations that include children from diverse background across the United States, and support approaches that can evolve with the science and take advantage of technological advances.

As of April 2023, the cohorts have data from over 105,000 participants, which includes over 64,000 children.

ECHO IDeA States Pediatric Clinical Trials Network

ECHO’s Institutional Developmental Award (IDeA) States Pediatric Clinical Trials Network (ISPCTN) helps address disparities in pediatric research by including children from rural or underserved populations in clinical trials, and by building pediatric research capacity in states with historically low NIH funding.

By conducting clinical trials focused in ECHO’s 5 outcome areas, this 18-state network helps researchers gain knowledge that will enhance the health of children in IDeA states. Because ISPCTN includes a presence in rural and underserved areas, it is well-positioned to address health issues that disproportionately affect those communities. The network provides a broad scope of research not limited to a single population, specialty, condition, or age group.

ISPCTN also builds research capacity by strengthening an institution’s ability to support biomedical research and enhancing the competitiveness of its investigators in securing future research funding.

To learn more about our research and find information for families, stakeholder organizations, and researchers, please visit the ECHO Coordinating Center website.

This page last reviewed on April 12, 2023