By Carlos Gallego
MINNEAPOLIS (Oct. 18, 2011) — The National Children’s Study will significantly impact the quality of children’s health locally and across the United States.
Recently, there has been a rise in many childhood conditions including asthma, autism and obesity. The National Children’s Study seeks to understand the role environment on children’s health and development.
The NCS will follow 100,000 children throughout the United States from before birth through age 21. Ramsey County was selected as one of 37 sites selected across the country. Locally lead investigator is Pat McGovern, from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health.
Traditionally, refugee immigrant and other historically underserved communities have participated in studies at levels lower than that of the general population. However, in the case of a study of this nature it is vital all communities participate including the Hmong, Karen, and Vietnamese so the findings are also representative of these and other underserved communities.
According to Catherine Graeve, Community Liaison for the project, they have been recruiting women to participate in the program since January. National Child Study staff and volunteers have been involved in community outreach which has included attending community events and organizing key informant meetings with to raise awareness.
The first round pilot phase’s focus has been to recruit pregnant women and test the effectiveness of recruitment strategies. Various types of recruitment strategies are being tested throughout the country.
In Ramsey County the High-Low recruitment strategy is being tried. Aspects of this strategy include sending mailing to women who might be eligible, doing community outreach.
More than 100 women have been enrolled in the study from several randomly selected neighborhoods from across Ramsey County. Then recruitment for this phase is scheduled to end in November.
The next phase involves recruitment of 1,000 to 2,000 women who are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant. They will continue to work with key informant groups from the various communities to increase the likelihood of participation among the historically underrepresented.
The study participants will also be compensated or their time. They recognize the importance of having outreach staff from the community groups and to date have hired Hmong and Latina staff. The final phase will use a variety of recruitment strategies including recruitment through medical providers and baby showers.
The primary purpose of this child study is to improve the health of children. This is the largest longitudinal study ever conducted in the history of the United States. This is why it is important to work with the diverse communities as they seek to understand the role the environment and other factors such as family history plan on child conditions.
For information to see if you may be eligible to participate in the National Childhood Study call 1-866-315-7126. For more information on the study: visit online at ramseykids.nationalchildrensstudy.gov or www.facebook.com/ramseykids.