Monday, October 6, 2008

Emory Awarded $28.5 Million for Child Health Study

A consortium headed by Emory University today was awarded $28.5 million as part of a second wave of federal funding for the landmark National Children's Study.

Emory will partner with the Morehouse School of Medicine, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga College of Medicine (UTCOMC) and Battelle Memorial Institute to initiate this phase of research. Emory and its partners are one of only 36 U.S. study centers selected to take part in the National Children's Study (NCS), a multi-year study examining the impact of environmental and genetic factors on the health of children in the U.S.

In 2007, Emory was awarded $25.5 million during the first round of federal research funding to initiate the National Children’s Study in DeKalb and Fayette Counties in Georgia. The current award will be used to recruit study volunteers in Baldwin County, Ga., and Bradley County, Tenn.

“We are very pleased that rural Georgia and rural Tennessee will be represented in the National Children’s Study," says Carol J. Hogue, PhD, MPH, professor of epidemiology and maternal and child health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. Hogue is also principal investigator for the Emory consortium. "Environmental problems for rural infants and children may be quite different from those of our urban centers, like Atlanta, but we wouldn’t know that without including them in the study."

Emory and its partner research teams will collect genetic, biological, and environmental samples from study volunteers in rural Georgia and Tennessee, and compile statistical information for analyses.

"Baldwin County in middle Georgia and Bradley County at the Tennessee/ Georgia border each have unique features that will determine how we will be engaged with the community throughout the course of the study," says Frances J. Dunston, MD, MPH, professor and chair of the Morehouse School of Medicine's Department of Pediatrics. "We look forward to working with community-based organizations and agencies who serve the children and families that will be a part of this major undertaking. Our goal is assure all of the benefits of the NCS to these communities."

"I am very excited about the opportunities the National Children's Study will bring to Bradley County," says Marvin Hall, MD, UTCOMC clinical assistant professor of pediatrics. "Bradley County's citizenry has long been known for working together to benefit the health of all. I am sure that once again, our residents will work hard to help with study efforts. We will all benefit in learning more about the environmental issues associated with the health of local children."

The National Children's Study will follow a representative national 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.

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