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.


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


News Feed

  • ECHO Researchers Learn How Children’s Sleep Quality Impacts Overall Life Satisfaction The majority of sleep research focuses on how poor sleep may cause health problems. Taking a different approach, ECHO PRO Core researcher Courtney Blackwell (right) and her team recently conducted a study to determine how better sleep quality may lead to positive health outcomes. In an article published in Quality of Life Research, Blackwell and team discuss sleep quality’s influence ...
  • ECHO Program’s Response to COVID-19 ECHO’s approach to innovative research practices in the era of COVID-19 As the novel coronavirus epidemic continues to affect our global and national communities, ECHO is committed to protecting the health and safety of its staff and participants while advancing our mission of enhancing the health of children for generations to come. In addition to following guidance from our national and ...
  • ECHO Researchers Analyze Potential Toxicity of Chemicals, Discover Gaps in Chemical Research In a recent article in Environmental Health Perspectives, ECHO researchers discuss their work on identifying and ranking chemicals that have not been biomonitored nationally but may negatively affect child health. Biomonitoring is a process that detects chemicals that people are exposed to and measures how much of those chemicals get into the body. To collect information, researchers examined different environmental elements ...