News Release

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

NIH’s National Children’s Study begins recruiting at 30 locations

The National Children's Study has initiated recruitment at 30 additional study locations around the United States. Study researchers at these locations seek to enroll women who are pregnant or may become pregnant in the next few years.

The study is the largest long-term examination of children's health ever conducted in the United States. It will follow 100,000 children from before birth to age 21 to learn how the environment influences children's health, development, and quality of life. Researchers expect to analyze the information they collect for years to come, to gain new understanding of how environmental factors such as the foods people eat, they chemicals they may be exposed to, and other aspects of daily life might interact with genes to affect health and development.

The new locations join seven existing centers which were activated earlier. Each study location was selected to provide geographic and demographic diversity representative of the United States as a whole.

Women who are or may become pregnant in the next few years and who live in a study area may be eligible to participate. Additional information about volunteering to participate, and eligibility criteria is available at Initially, participants will be asked to respond to questionnaires about their environment and family health histories. At a later date, participants may be asked to visit clinics at study centers, and asked to provide biological samples, such as blood and urine, as well as environmental samples, like tap water from their homes and house dust. Moreover, partners and children of participants may also be asked to provide samples and respond to questionnaires.

"The National Children's Study is an investment in the future of America's children," said Alan Guttmacher, M.D., director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) of the National Institutes of Health. "Through their participation, women and their families can help in the search for information to improve the health, development and well being of future generations."

The study is led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The National Children's Study is in its pilot phase. During the pilot phase, study scientists will evaluate the effectiveness of three strategies for recruiting eligible women to take part. The scientists will then analyze the information obtained from the pilot phase to help them carry out the main study.

"We are embarking upon one of the richest data collection efforts ever conducted, and the wealth of information we hope to amass could have a major impact on the health of future generations," said Steven Hirschfeld, M.D., Ph.D., acting director, National Children's Study.

Of the 30 new locations, 10 each will be devoted to the following:

  • Provider-based Recruitment Strategy: This approach will ask health care providers to serve as the primary source for identifying potential study participants. Practitioners who see women of childbearing age who are or may become pregnant in the next few years will be involved in this effort, referring eligible women to study representatives.
  • Enhanced Household-based Recruitment Strategy: Study representatives will contact women at their homes to encourage them to participate. In addition, study staff will try to reach potential participants through advertisements and public service announcements in the local media. Potential participants also will be referred to the study by health care providers, and informed about the study by study representatives at social clubs, community organizations, and public events.
  • Two-Tiered Recruitment Strategy (High Intensity/Low Intensity): Women in these areas will be asked to fill out a brief questionnaire and mail it back to the study center. After this initial contact with the study, some of the women will be contacted a second time and asked to respond to a detailed questionnaire, and at a later date, perhaps, to provide biological and environmental samples.

The locations selected for each of these strategies are:

Location Study Center
Provider-based Recruitment Strategy  
Benton County, Ark. Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute
Bexar County, Texas University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio
Durham County, N.C. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carolina Population Center
Hinds County, Miss. University of Mississippi
Lamar County, Texas University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
Lamar County, Texas University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
New Haven County, Conn. Yale University
Providence County, R.I. Brown University
Sacramento County, Calif. University of California, Davis
Schuylkill County, Pa. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Wayne County, Mich. Michigan State University

The locations selected for each of these strategies are:

Location Study Center
Enhanced Household-based Recruitment Strategy  
Baker County, Fla. University of Miami
Cuyahoga County, Ohio Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Cumberland County, Maine Maine Medical Center
Grant County, Wash. University of Washington
Honolulu County, Hawaii University of Hawai'i at Manoa, John A. Burns School of Medicine
Pinal County, Ariz.   University of Arizona
Polk County, Iowa University of Iowa
San Diego County, Calif. University of California, Irvine
St. Louis, Mo. Saint Louis University School of Public Health
Valencia County, N.M. University of New Mexico
Two-Tiered Recruitment Strategy (High Intensity/Low Intensity)  
Baldwin County, Ga. Emory University
Cache County, Utah University of Utah School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics
Cook County, Ill. Northwestern University
Davidson County, Tenn. Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Douglas County, Colo.  University of Colorado
Los Angeles County, Calif. University of California, Los Angeles
Montgomery County, Md. Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health
New Orleans, La. Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Center for Applied Environmental Public Health
Ramsey County, Minn. University of Minnesota
Westmoreland County, Pa. University of Pittsburgh

The original seven study locations are:

Location Study Center
Brookings County, S.D., and Yellow Medicine, Pipestone, and Lincoln Counties, Minn. South Dakota State University
Duplin County, N.C. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Montgomery County, Pa. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Orange County, Calif. University of California, Irvine
Queens County, N.Y. Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Salt Lake County, Utah University of Utah
Waukesha County, Wis. University of Wisconsin, Madison

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

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): 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. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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