As part of our Society's ongoing efforts to foster and expand collaborations in birth defects research and prevention, I would like to call your attention to an upcoming FOA, "A Translational Lens for Children’s Environmental Health: A New Vision for 2020," from the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences. A summary is available HERE in the Files of Interest section of BDR Connection. This document was recently shared with us via our membership in the Friends of NIEHS. Key sections follow:
In 2018, NIEHS supported more than 308 research projects for $89,721,501.00 in children’s environmental health from mechanistic to population-based studies. In addition to the unsolicited portfolio, this support includes targeted programs such as:
- Children’s Health Exposure Analysis Resource Program
- Maintain and Enrich Resources for Existing Environmental Epidemiology cohorts (R24).
- Preconception Exposure Window and Health of the Offspring,
- Environmental Influences on Placental Origins of Development,
- Environmental and Autism Spectrum Disorder,
At the same time, NIH OD is directing the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program (2016-2023) where over more than 20+ NIEHS pediatric cohorts are active awardees and NIEHS CEH grantees and program staff play an active leadership role in the program.
NIEHS is proposing the use of a center-like mechanism to create a collaborative network of Children’s Environmental Health Translation Centers across the US to achieve its goals. Each center will support a diverse base of subject matter expertise in CEH and health communications (e.g., health behavior, health education, risk communication, health policy) to accelerate the research findings into practice and policy to protect children’s health. Centers will be encouraged to look outside their academic institution to bring in the right balance of subject matter expertise and disciplines to support research translation efforts and activities.
The full FOA will be released in October during National Children's Month with an application deadline in February 2020. I believe our Society is perfectly situated to use our transdisciplinary, bench-to-bedside expertise to develop competitive applications. This is also an excellent opportunity to expand our reach to develop new collaborations, which is in keeping with our Strategic Plan. It is gratifying to see the importance the NIH is putting on our important work, so we should all celebrate the NIH investment in birth defects research and prevention through its multiple child health initiatives.
Although the announcement came too late to include in our Multidisciplinary Research Needs Workshop at the 2019 Annual Meeting, I'm hopeful some of the seeds planted there will take root and grow into a full proposal to take advantage of this unique opportunity.
Christine Perdan Curran, PhD