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$26 million award expands UC Irvine's role in landmark child health study
National Institutes of Health-funded research initiative will move beyond Orange County to San Diego and Inland Empire
Irvine, Calif., October 4, 2007
University of California, Irvine, has received $25.9 million from the National Institutes of Health to expand the National Children’s Study – a long-term study assessing environmental and genetic factors on child health – to San Diego and San Bernardino counties. This award adds to the initial $14.6 million received by UC Irvine in 2005 to establish the Orange County, California, Vanguard Center of the NCS. It is the second-largest single award in UC Irvine’s history.
As a Vanguard Center – one of the first seven study centers – UC Irvine has been part of the National Children’s Study for two years. The additional funding announced Thursday will establish the Southern California Study Center (SOCA), in which UC Irvine researchers will work with scientists from the University of California, San Diego, San Diego State University, Loma Linda University and the California State University, San Bernardino on this landmark effort.
The NCS eventually will follow a representative sample of 105,000 children nationwide from before birth to age 21, seeking information to identify the underlying genetic and environmental causes of the nation’s most pressing child health problems, including premature birth, obesity, diabetes, asthma, autism and ADHD. Researchers in the SOCA Study Center will be responsible for recruiting 3,000 participants and collecting data in the largest study of child development and health ever conducted in the United States. The Orange County team will begin recruiting 1,000 families in 2008; San Diego will start in 2009 and San Bernardino in 2010.
“We are excited to be part of such an impressive collaboration that brings together experts from various campus departments, including pediatrics, obstetrics, medicine, epidemiology, psychiatry, psychology, public health and nursing,” said Dr. David N. Bailey, vice chancellor of health affairs. “We hope to contribute to important discoveries that will lead to the prevention of many childhood disorders that are increasing in today’s society.”
University of California campuses are well-represented among the new study locations, with centers also being established at UCLA, studying Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, and UC Davis, studying Sacramento and San Mateo Counties.
As part of the Orange County Vanguard Center, UC Irvine investigators have – for the past two years – led national teams to refine procedures and protocols for gathering data on important genetic and environmental exposures.
James Swanson, professor of pediatrics and director of the Child Development Center; Dean Baker, professor of medicine and director of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health; Feizal Waffarn, chair of pediatrics; Pathik Wadhwa, associate professor of psychiatry; and Alison Clarke-Stewart, professor of psychology are the investigators leading the study at UCI. The team is working with community partners from the Children and Families Commission of Orange County; Children’s Hospital of Orange County, and the Orange County Health Care Agency.
In total, the NCS will be conducted in 105 study locations across the United States that together are representative of the entire U.S. birth population. The study is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It began in response to the Children’s Health Act of 2000 when Congress directed federal agencies to undertake a national, long-term study of children’s development and health.
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