National Children's Study Begins Recruiting At 30 Newly Activated Locations

On December 12, 2014, the NIH Director decided to close the National Children’s Study. The information on this page is not being updated and is provided for reference only.

The National Children's Study has initiated recruitment at 30 study locations around the United States.

The Study is the largest long-term study of children's health ever conducted in the United States, and 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. Study researchers seek to enroll women who are pregnant or may become pregnant in the next few years.

Women who are or may become pregnant in the next few years and who live in a study area may be eligible to join the study. Additional information about the study and eligibility criteria is available at Throughout the study, participants will periodically visit clinics and respond to questionnaires about their environment and family health histories. They will also be asked to provide biological samples, such as blood and urine, as well as environmental samples, like tap water from their homes, and house dust. The information study researchers collect over the years will be used to understand how genes and the environment affect children's health.

"The National Children's Study is an investment in the future of our nation'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 launch of the 30 new National Children's Study locations has been undertaken as an expansion of the study's pilot phase. The new centers join 7 existing centers which were activated earlier. Each study location was selected to provide geographic and demographic diversity representative of the U.S. as a whole. During the pilot phase, study scientists will evaluate the effectiveness of three separate strategies for recruiting eligible women to take part. The scientists will then analyze the information obtained from the pilot phase to design 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.

Varied Recruitment Approaches

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

  • Provider-based Recruitment Strategy: This approach will use health care providers 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.
  • 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 ads and public service announcements in the local news 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): Locations using this strategy will employ standard contact methods to ask women in the study areas to participate, but will employ an abbreviated method to recruit the others. This subset of women will be asked to fill out a shorte short questionnaire or mail back a survey form. After this initial contact with the study, the women might be contacted a second time and asked to provide biological samples and detailed information that other participants have provided.

The locations selected for each of these strategies (and their corresponding study centers) 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
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
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

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

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