The National Children's Study Gets Underway in Douglas County

Sky Ridge's Dr. Steven Grover, OB/GYN, a member of the National Children’s Study Community Committee, and answers questions about this important research initiative.

The National Children's Study

Q: What is the National Children’s Study?

  • The National Children’s Study is the largest long-term study of environmental and genetic influences on children’s health ever conducted in the United States.
  • The study will follow 100,000 children from before birth to age 21.
  • It will examine family genetics, neighborhoods and schools, chemical exposures, food and water, cultural differences, geographic locations, as well as children's social and behavioral environments.
  • The goal is to determine the causes of major childhood diseases in order to improve the health and well-being of children.

Dr. Steven Grover with Lacey

Steven Grover, MD, OB/GYN, with Lacey, pictured here at 1 years old, was Sky Ridge’s first baby.

Q: What Will We Learn From the Study?

  • When completed, the National Children’s Study will be the richest information resource for questions related to child health ever.
  • The Study will examine important health issues, including: birth defects and pregnancy-related problems; injuries; asthma, autism, obesity; diabetes; and behavior, learning, and mental health disorders to establish links between children’s environments and their health.
  • Findings from the Study will benefit all Americans by providing researchers, health care providers, and public health officials with information from which to develop prevention strategies, health and safety guidelines.

Q: Where Will the Study Be Conducted?

  • The Study will be conducted in Douglas County and 104 other locations (counties or clusters of counties) across the United States.
  • Each location was selected using methods to ensure that children and families across all selected locations are representative of the entire nation, in terms of ethnic, racial, economic, religious, geographic, and social composition.
  • In these locations, Study teams will work with health care professionals and community leaders to invite women who are pregnant or are likely to become pregnant to participate in the Study.

Q: Who Will Conduct the Study in Douglas County?

  • The University of Colorado Denver (UCD) was selected from a pool of applicants assessed through a competitive process. Our Study Center is led by the Colorado School of Public Health and.
  • Researchers at the Study Center will conduct the study through a strong partnership with local community-based organizations, health departments, schools, religious, business, neighborhood and ethnic organizations, as well as delivery hospitals and local health care providers.
  • Douglas County was chosen for the National Children’s Study based on factors such as location, diversity and the number of children born each year. Including Douglas County helps the Study to fairly represent all of America’s children.
  • The Study will be conducted by an interdisciplinary team consisting of scientists from the diabetes field, environmentalists, epidemiologists, nutritionists, pediatricians and obstetricians. Team leadership consists of Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD, Principal Investigator, Susan L. Johnson, PhD, Co-Investigator, Anne Lynch, MD, MPH Co-Investigator and Patty Nash, Site Manager.

Q: What Will the Study Involve?

  • Researchers will invite pregnant women, or women who are likely to become pregnant, from selected neighborhoods within Douglas County, to participate in the Study.
  • We will go door-to-door, or will work with health care providers, to sign up women from pre-selected neighborhoods within Douglas County.
  • Eventually we will follow 1,000 children from Douglas County.

Q: How Will Participants Be Encouraged to Continue in the Study?

  • Efforts to encourage women to participate in the Study will include community based campaigns promoting the creation of community partnerships; building relationships with area obstetricians and other health care providers; and directing outreach to parenting, religious, and community groups, as well as other organizations offering health information and support to families.
  • Some tools and activities to promote connection and cohesion among participants may include newsletters, interactive Web sites for the children, periodic get-togethers, on-line social networking tools and public presentations.
  • As with most studies of this kind, participants will receive compensation for their participation.

Q: How Will Our Community Benefit From the Study?

  • It is hoped findings from the National Children’s Study will help doctors and other health care providers treat and prevent numerous child health problems.
  • Study findings will help national, state and local leaders make better environmental and health policy.
  • Families and children who participate in the Study will directly contribute to the health and well being of future generations of children, in Douglas County and throughout the United States.

Q: Who Can I Contact to Get More Information?