ECHO Awards More Than $157 Million for Observational Research Into Environmental Influences on Child Health

The Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program in the Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health has made 49 awards totaling over $157 million for the first year of the second seven-year cycle of the ECHO Cohort Consortium.

Forty-five ECHO Cohort Study Sites will recruit and continue to follow participants across the country. A Coordinating Center, Data Analysis Center, Laboratory Core, and Measurement Core will help facilitate the science. Together, as the ECHO Cohort Consortium, they will conduct observational research to further investigate the roles of a broad range of early exposures, including during the preconception period, on five key child health outcomes among diverse populations.

“What makes ECHO special is our commitment to informing programs, policies, and practices that enhance the health of children for generations to come,” said Matthew W. Gillman, MD, SM, Director of the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program. “We look forward to another seven years of the ECHO Cohort, to find meaningful answers to big questions in child health that only large and diverse studies like ours are able to answer.”

ECHO funded these awards after a competitive peer review process. View a list of each prime awardee.

Extending and Expanding the ECHO Cohort

From September 2023 through May 2030, the ECHO Cohort Consortium will follow more than 30,000 current ECHO Cohort child and adolescent participants and their families, while adding more than 30,000 new pregnant participants and their offspring. In addition, researchers will follow at least 10,000 women and, when available, their partners, to examine how preconception exposures may influence child health outcomes. The enhanced ECHO Cohort will include about 60,000 total children and adolescents by 2030.

Following this large and diverse population will enhance ECHO’s ability to answer solution-oriented questions about the effects of a broad range of early environmental exposures, from society to biology, on child health and development. Scientific opportunities in the second cycle are nearly limitless and may include effects of novel chemicals, addressing health equity, impact of media use, assessing natural experiments, influences of preconception exposures, and consequences of social determinants of health, among others.

Building on Seven Years of Success

Since 2016, more than 1200 ECHO Cohort researchers at more than 180 institutions have collaborated to weave data from 69 pre-existing longitudinal maternal-child health studies into a single national resource. Data from more than 107,000 child and parent participants in the ECHO Cohort have powered more than 1200 peer-reviewed articles across five pediatric areas of high public health impact: pre-, peri- and postnatal health; upper and lower airways; obesity; neurodevelopment; and positive health. The geographic, socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic diversity of participants amplifies the sheer size of the ECHO Cohort to present unique opportunities to promote long-lasting health by informing programs, policies, and practices.

This page last reviewed on October 3, 2023