The Early Growth and Development Study Cohort of the ECHO Program

Project: Research project

Project Details


Project Summary The combined economic and personal effects of children’s neurodevelopmental problems, such as conduct disorder, ADHD, and depression and anxiety symptoms are substantial. At the same time, there is growing evidence that dimensions of positive health can support children in leading meaningful, productive lives. In the current proposal we address knowledge gaps related to the timing of psychosocial environmental exposures and when their effects on child neurodevelopment and positive health emerge, and at what ages children’s risk factors and assets are most potent in affecting developmental trajectories. We also propose to examine the transition to adolescence. Adolescence can be a turning point in child development given rapid changes in the brain, emotional, and social system, yet longitudinal studies from infancy to adolescence with large cohorts of children from diverse backgrounds are sorely lacking. Last, children’s neurodevelopment and positive health are rarely examined in concert, leading to incomplete assessments of children’s mental health at all phases of development. This application seeks to fill some of these knowledge gaps through participation in the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Cohort Study Sites for Pediatric Follow Up Program. In this application, we propose to follow an existing sample of 1,000 children from the Early Growth and Development Study (EGDS) cohort who are enrolled as Level 2 participants in the ECHO Program and have ECHO Cohort Protocol data elements beginning in the prenatal period. EGDS is a nationwide sample of children living with either their adoptive or biological parent(s). Children will be age 7 – 20 years old and assessed annually using the ECHO Cohort Protocol in the proposed study. We have been highly successful in achieving our planned recruitment and enrollment rates, collecting and sharing data with the ECHO Program, and contributing to ECHO-wide science and manuscripts in the current ECHO funding cycle. We will build on our successes and infrastructure to contribute to ECHO’s goals through leading collaborative ECHO Cohort science, with a dual focus on ECHO Cohort Protocol core data elements and on two specialized child outcome areas: Neurodevelopment and Child Positive Health. Through three specific aims, we will: (1) leverage ECHO Cohort Protocol core data elements to examine the immediate and latent impact of early exposures on child health outcomes across different developmental periods in diverse contexts; (2) leverage data from specialized outcomes to test predictors of change in neurodevelopment and positive health in adolescence; and, (3) implement data-driven check points every quarter to assess our retention of existing cohort participants, with an emphasis on diversity and implementation of the protocol with high fidelity. Our overall goal is to work collaboratively with the ECHO Program to advance the understanding of predictors and outcomes of child health in order to inform programs, practices, and policies that will improve the health of children for generations to come.
Effective start/end date9/21/165/31/24


  • NIH Office of the Director: $1,570,142.00
  • NIH Office of the Director: $2,231,496.00


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