NIH selects Nemours for seven-year initiative

Nemours/Alfred I duPont Hospital for Children will participate in a seven-year initiative by the National Institutes of Health that will investigate how exposure to environmental factors in early years influences health.

Nemours/Alfred I duPont was selected for the ECHO program, which stands for Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes, based on its expertise in conducting pediatric clinical trials, its community-based pediatric network throughout Delaware, its 15-year experience using electronic health records and its status as part of the NIH’s Institutional Development Awards Program (IDeA) that aims to bring clinic trails to rural and medically underserved populations

Beginning this month, Nemours will be awarded approximately $1.8 million over a four-year period. The principal investigator for Nemours on ECHO is pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Judith Ross.  The grant awards will build the capacity for the ECHO program to support multiple longitudinal studies that extend and expand existing studies of mothers and children. ECHO research will focus on factors that may influence health outcomes around the time of birth as well as into later childhood and adolescence, including: upper and lower airway health and development; obesity; pre-, peri- and postnatal outcomes; brain and nervous system development.

A critical component of ECHO will be to build state-of-the art pediatric clinical research networks in rural and medically underserved areas, so that children from these communities can participate in clinical trials.

“We at Nemours are harnessing the tremendous resources that are part of the IDeA states network to transform pediatric clinical trials and improve outcomes in critical areas such as infant mortality in the state of Delaware and across the U.S.,” Dr. Ross said.

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