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The ECHO Program

The scientific goal of ECHO, a research program launched by the National Institutes of Health, is to understand the effects of a broad range of early environmental influences on child health and development. ECHO uses information from existing longitudinal research projects (cohorts) that will include more than 50,000 children from diverse backgrounds across the United States. Together, these cohorts follow participants from before they are born through childhood and adolescence. ECHO also supports a 17-state clinical trials network to test prevention and treatment strategies among children from rural and medically underserved backgrounds.

Mission

To enhance the health of children for generations to come.

Program Objectives

  • Improve the health of children and adolescents by conducting observational and interventional research that will inform high-impact programs, policies, and practices.
  • Institute best practices for conducting Team Science in the 21st century, giving researchers the tools to work collaboratively to improve child health.

ECHO studies share standardized core data elements.

The core elements to be addressed across all studies include:

  • Demographics
  • Typical early health and development
  • Genetic influences on early childhood health and development
  • Environmental factors
  • Person-Reported Outcomes (PROs)
On August 11th, 2017 the NIH published an RFI seeking feedback from stakeholders and the general public on the ECHO-wide Cohort Data Collection Protocol. The RFI specifically requested feedback and recommendations on the data element concepts, types of biospecimens, and innovative data collection methodology. The NIH received a number of responses from researchers, professional organizations, nonprofit organizations, and research foundations. View the responses to this RFI here. The NIH thanks all responders for their input.

ECHO's Five Health Outcomes

The studies focus on five key pediatric outcomes that have a high public health impact:

  • Pre-, peri-, and postnatal
  • Upper and lower airway
  • Obesity
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Positive Health

Video

News Feed

  • ECHO Program Activates First Sites under the ECHO-wide Cohort Data Collection Protocol June 19, 2019 The Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program announced today that it has activated its first sites to begin data collection under the ECHO-wide Cohort Data Collection Protocol. Congratulations to the Safe Passage Study (PASS) Cohort, led by Principal Investigator Amy Elliott, sites at Avera Health – Rapid City and Avera Health – Sioux Falls. “This site activation ...
  • New ECHO-funded Research Shows Chronic Illnesses in Children Do Not Necessarily Lead to Dissatisfaction The ECHO researchers’ findings suggest that children with chronic illnesses are just as happy as their peers who do not have chronic illnesses. The May 2019 issue of Pediatrics published findings from a recent study by ECHO researchers Courtney Blackwell, Amy Elliott, Jody Ganiban, Julie Herbstman, Kelly Hunt, Chris Forrest, and Carlos Camargo. The publication, titled “General Health and Life Satisfaction ...
  • NIH, ECHO, and the Navajo Nation Make History with New Data-Sharing and Use Agreement This landmark agreement enables the Navajo Birth Cohort Study (NBCS) to continue as part of the ECHO Program. May 8, 2019 The National Institutes of Health (NIH) facilitated a data-sharing and use agreement between the Navajo Nation and NIH grantees of the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program at the Navajo Nation Head Start Center in Leupp, Arizona. This agreement, ...