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    Morehouse School of Medicine in Partnership with Emory, Others Awarded $28.5 Million for Child Health Research

    Atlanta — Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) and Emory University are partners as a Principle Study Center in the second wave of federal funding for the landmark National Children's Study (NCS), the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development announced today.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Contact: Gayle Converse / 404-756-6701 / gconverse@msm.edu

    Atlanta — Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) and Emory University are partners as a Principle Study Center in the second wave of federal funding for the landmark National Children's Study (NCS), the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development announced today.

    The NCS is a multi-billion-dollar landmark study — the largest study of child and human development ever conducted in the United States. The multi-year study will examine the effects of environmental and genetic factors on child and human health in the United States.

    The consortium, headed by Emory, was awarded $28.5 million. Along with MSM, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga College of Medicine (UTCCOMC), and Battelle Memorial Institute will initiate the new phase of research. The consortium is one of only 36 U.S. study centers, and the only grantees in Georgia and Tennessee, selected to take part in phase two of the NCS. In 2007, MSM, Emory and Battelle were awarded $25 million during the first wave of funding.

    The 2008 award brings the total amount granted to the consortium to $54 million. The current award will be used to include children living in Baldwin County, Ga., and Bradley County, Tenn., which together are representative of the entire U.S. population. A national probability sample was used to select the counties in the study, which took into account factors such as race and ethnicity, income, education level, number of births and number of babies born with low birth weights.

    "Baldwin County in middle Georgia and Bradley County at the Tennessee/Georgia border each have unique features that will determine how we will be engaged with the community throughout the course of the Study," says Frances J. Dunston, M.D., M.P.H., the A.J. McClung chair of Pediatrics, and professor and chair for the MSM Department of Pediatrics. "We look forward to working with community-based organizations and agencies who serve the children and families that will be a part of this major undertaking. Our goal is assure all of the benefits of the NCS to these communities."

    The study eventually will follow a representative sample of 100,000 children from before birth to age 21, seeking information to prevent and treat some of the nation's most pressing health problems, including autism, birth defects, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. In total, the NCS will be conducted in 105 study locations across the United States.

    The new and existing study centers will recruit study volunteers from a total of 72 locations throughout the United States. Investigations will include factors influencing the development of such conditions as autism, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, birth defects, diabetes, asthma, and obesity. More than 500,000 premature infants are born each year in the United States. Infants born prematurely are at risk for early death and a variety of health problems, such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and learning disabilities. Health care costs for preterm infants total $26 billion per year.

    At today's briefing, NIH officials stated that the study would yield health information throughout its 25 year span. Within just a few years, the study would provide information on disorders of pregnancy and birth. Since women would be recruited before they give birth, and in some instances even before they become pregnant, the study would provide insight into the causes and contributors of preterm birth.

    Authorized by Congress in the Children's Health Act of 2000, the NCS is being conducted by a consortium of federal agencies. This includes two NIH institutes, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Additional information about the National Children's Study is available from http://www.nationalchildrensstudy.gov.

    Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) recruits and trains minority and other students as physicians, biomedical scientists and public health professionals committed to improving the health and well-being of communities. MSM is a member of the largest consortium of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the world — the Atlanta University Center (AUC). For more information about Morehouse School of Medicine, visit us online at www.msm.edu.

    The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Institute's Web site at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/.

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.


    Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), located in Atlanta, Georgia, was founded in 1975 as the Medical Education Program at Morehouse College. In 1981 Morehouse School of Medicine became an independently chartered institution and the first minority medical school established at a Historically Black College and University in the 20th century. MSM is among the nation's leading educators of primary care physicians. Our faculty and alumni are noted in their fields for excellence in teaching, research and public policy, and are known in the community for exceptional, culturally appropriate patient care. For more information about Morehouse School of Medicine, visit us online at www.msm.edu.

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