UH Mānoa research team meets at National Institutes of Health

Hawai'i has key role in launching National Children's Study

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Randy Obata, 692-1923
Director of Community Affairs, National Children's Study
Evelyn Hein, 587-4879
Operations Manager, National Children's Study
Posted: Aug 27, 2010

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Study Center for the National Children's Study has been ramping up operations this summer for the largest long-term study in the United States that will look at how children’s health is affected by a number of factors, including their family health history and the places where they live, learn, and play.


The study will include 100,000 children across the nation from before birth to age 21 and will expand what’s known about children’s health and serve as a rich information resource for future research on children’s health, development, and quality of life. 


“The National Children’s Study is a very large longitudinal study looking at environmental and genetic factors that affect child health and development,” said Dr. Lynnae Sauvage, Principal Investigator with the Study and Chair of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health at the UH Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine. “We are getting ready to start on O‘ahu to enroll our first participants in this study,” Sauvage said.


Earlier this month, Sauvage led members of her research team from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Study Center at the John A. Burns School of Medicine to a conference at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Sauvage’s team members met with their counterparts from across the country during three days of meetings to discuss issues ranging from recruitment methods to the type of computer technology that will be used to collect and to store data from 105 locations.


Dr. Stephen Hirschfeld, Acting Director of the National Children’s Study, said Hawai‘i’s ethnic diversity will help the research. “We’re particularly keen on having participants from Hawai‘i because we’re looking for an unbiased sample of people who live in the United States so we want to be sure that we get people from all socioeconomic strata, from all races, all ethnicities, all different backgrounds and communities that people belong to,” Hirschfeld said.


The study is spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—through the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The UH Mānoa Study Center is conducting the research in Hawai‘i on the island of O‘ahu where recruitment will start up this fall and initially focus on door-to-door visits at local homes.


“We’ll be looking at biologic factors. We’ll be looking at environmental exposures through air, dust, soil and water,” said Dr. Elizabeth McFarlane, Investigator at the UH Mānoa Study Center. “And we’ll be looking at psychosocial elements such as their learning environments at home, their learning environments in school settings, playgrounds, and community. So the potential for the benefit to our community, particularly in Hawaiʻi, and across the nation is huge.”


“It should enable us to look at genetic issues—inheritance—and basically how those things work together to keep our children healthy and well. Or, in the adverse sense, how our children get disease,” Sauvage added.


“So we hope that the people of Hawaiʻi will welcome field workers from the National Children’s Study when they come in and that they will engage with us and understand that this is a long-term involvement,” said Hirschfeld.


Ultimately, the National Children’s Study will form the basis of child health guidance, interventions, and policy for generations to come.


To learn more about the study, visit www.nationalchildrensstudy.gov or to view a video of the story, visit: http://www.youtube.com/user/uhstudycenter#p/f.





For more information, visit: http://www.nationalchildrensstudy.gov