UW News

November 2, 2011

Grant County families join National Childrens Study

UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine

Learn more about the National Children’s  Study

More than 150 Grant County current and prospective parents have said “yes to the vest” and joined the pilot phase of the National Childrens Study (NCS), the largest long-term study of childrens health ever conducted in the United States. Since their enrollment, approximately 50 babies have been born and are being tracked as part of the study. Grant County was chosen as one of 30 sites across the nation to participate in the pilot phase of the study.

The National Childrens Study field office in Grant County has been recruiting eligible women between 18 and 49 years of age to participate in the study since December 2010. The field office developed a recruitment campaign asking county households to “say yes to the vest” when office staff wearing red vests came knocking on doors.

The goal of the pilot phase was to evaluate various recruitment strategies for the main NCS study that will eventually follow more than 100,000 families nationwide. In Grant County, the goal was to recruit 150-200 families by going door-to-door to enroll eligible women for the study.

Other sites used different approaches for recruitment such as contacting women through their providers. The recruitment has been so successful in Grant County and the other sites that the focus of the study has shifted.

Beginning this month, active recruitment will end and the information from the pilot phase will be examined to help develop recruitment strategies for the main NCS Study. Families enrolled in the pilot phase of the study will continue to be followed for 21 years.

“I am extremely thankful to the Grant Counties families that have enrolled in the study.  Because of their involvement, scientists will gain a greater understanding of childhood conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and autism,” said Dr. Patricia Butterfield, lead investigator and dean of Washington State University College of Nursing. “We were successful in Grant County because of the hard work and dedication of our field office staff, as well as the commitment of the community.”

Dr. Elaine Faustman, principal investigator for the Pacific Northwest Center for the National Childrens Center based at the University of Washington, agrees. ”Recruitment for this study started in December 2010, one of the more challenging months to undertake a household-based campaign in Grant County. The Grant County field office staff received special recruitment training and their input and hard work made the pilot phase successful.”

The research is an observational study, meaning that researchers will watch and learn how family health history and where children live, learn, and play affect their health and development. Air, water, diet, noise, family dynamics, community and cultural influences will be tracked. Health care professionals, doctors and researchers across the nation will use findings from the research to understand how the environment affects childrens growth and development.

A scene from Grant County, Wash., overlooking Moses Lake.

A scene from Grant County, Wash., overlooking Moses Lake.A.C. Gray

“We are so proud of our Grant County women and families who have stepped up and agreed to participate,” said Jennifer Lane, study manager. “Parents here are committed to keeping their kids and future generations healthy. It is part of who we are as a region.”

While NCS staff won’t be knocking on doors to recruit families for the pilot study any longer, families who are interested in participating are still encouraged to contact the Grant County Field Office by calling 1.855.733.8378.

The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health and is coordinated by the Pacific Northwest Center for the National Childrens Study (PNWNCS) at the University of Washington. The PNWNCS partners with Washington State University, The Grant County Health District, and the Moses Lake and Quincy Community Health Centers and local communities in Washingtons Grant County.