Children's Health Research
Region 4 supports and distributes information on the effects of environmental factors on children's health. Some of the ongoing research includes: the National Children’s Study and projects from the Duke Research Center.
National Children’s Study
Enacted by congress in 2000, the National Children's Study plans to follow 100,000 children from before birth to age 21 gathering data about how environmental factors, alone or interacting with genetic factors, affect childhood health. Examining a variety of environmental factors – from air, water and dust to what children eat and how often they see a doctor—will help scientists develop prevention strategies and cures for a wide range of childhood diseases. Study centers were selected upon their geographic and demographic diversity and other criteria, such as the number of births and number of babies born at low birth weight. While the study will eventually be conducted in a total of 105 locations, 26 locations have already been funded. The study centers and locations in Region 4 that have been selected include:
- Emory University with Morehouse School of Medicine and Battelle Memorial Institute for DeKalb County, Fayette County, and Bradley County, Georgia.
- Vanderbilt University Medical Center with the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, RTI International, Meharry Medical College, Baptist Hospital, Centennial Hospital, Southern Hills Hospital, Summit Hospital and Nashville General Hospital for Davidson County, TN.
- University of Louisville with the Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness and the National Opinion Research Center for Jefferson County, KY.
- University of Mississippi with Tougaloo College, Jackson State University, Mississippi Department of Health, and Community Outreach for Health Awareness for Hinds County, Mississippi.
- University of Miami for Baker County, FL, Hillsborough County, FL, Miami-Dade County, FL and Orange County, FL.
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with Duke University, Battelle Memorial Institute, and McMillan and Moss Research for Rockingham County, NC, Buncombe County, NC, Burke County, NC, Cumberland County, NC, Duplin County, NC and Durham County, NC.
The Study Protocol for the National Children’s Study has been developed. The study centers will begin making preparations for recruitment, determining community needs and setting up community advisory boards. For more information, please refer to the National Children’s Study website.
Duke Research Center
In May 2007, the EPA Administrator awarded Duke University nearly $8 million to support a 5-year study intended to examine the impact of environmental stresses on fetal development and adverse birth outcomes among distinct subpopulations in North Carolina. This new Center, "The Southern Center on Environmental-Driven Disparities in Birth Outcomes" will work to determine how a blend of social, environmental and genetic factors can affect the height, weight and size of newborns. The project goals include 1) conducting research to increase understanding on how environmental and social aspects of vulnerabilities contribute to health disparities in the Southeast; 2) promoting research interactions among biomedical, environmental health and social sciences programs; 3) developing new methodologies to incorporate statistical analysis into children's environmental health research and policy; 4) serving as a technical and educational resource in children's health and health disparities; and 5 ) translating the results into direct interventions in clinical care and practice. Since 1998, EPA has funded 20 research centers dedicated to improving children’s health. The Duke Center is the first Research Center that EPA funded in the Southeast. For more information on this research project, please refer to the website.