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Drexel University College of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to Manage Two New Sites for National Children’s Study

October 4, 2007

Drexel University College of Medicine along with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia received contracts today to manage two new study sites in The National Children's Study. The institutions will manage local participation, recruitment and data collection in Schuylkill County, Pa, and New Castle County, Del. The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Investigators anticipate approximately 1,000 families in Schuylkill County and 1,000 families in New Castle County, Del. will participate in the study that will follow children from before birth until age 21. The National Children's Study eventually will follow a representative sample of 100,000 children from across the U.S., seeking information to prevent and treat some of the nation's most pressing health problems, including autism, birth defects, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

"The children enrolled from these counties represent a snapshot of all of America's children," said Donald F. Schwarz, MD, MPH, principal investigator for the Schuylkill and New Castle County sites who is deputy physician-in-chief of the Department of Pediatrics and chief, Craig-Dalsimer Division of Adolescent Medicine at The Children's Hospital. "The National Children's Study provides us with a great opportunity to contribute to improving the health of children and families in Schuylkill and New Castle Counties and across the nation for generations to come."

In the two new counties covered by the Children's Hospital/Drexel University College of Medicine partnership, Pottsville Hospital and Pennsylvania State University Milton S. Hershey Medical Center will be Schuylkill County participants; The University of Delaware School of Nursing, Christiana Hospital, and Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children will participate from New Castle County, Del. University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and the National Opinion Research Corporation will also be partners in this local part of the national study.

"The National Children's Study is the first and largest long-term study of children's health ever conducted in the U.S.," said Jennifer Culhane, PhD, MPH, co-principal investigator for the Schuylkill and New Castle County sites and an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Drexel University College of Medicine. "By following 100,000 children from before birth to age 21, we hope to better understand how children's genes and their environment interact to affect their health and development."

In November 2005, the National Children's Study named Montgomery County, Pa. one of seven Vanguard sites in the nation charged with studying children's health determinants. Children's Hospital and Drexel University College of Medicine are primary collaborators on this site as well.

In total, the study will be conducted in 105 previously designated study locations across the U.S., that together are representative of the nation's population. A national probability sample was used to select the counties in the study, which took into account factors including race and ethnicity, income, education level, number of births and babies born with low birth weights.