Reed Announces Nearly $1.9 Million to Support Clinical Research on Children’s Health in RI RI Hospital and partners to study environmental effects on children’s health

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Senator Jack Reed announced that Rhode Island Hospital will receive $1,877,090 in federal funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as part of the Environmental Influence on Children’s Health Outcomes (ECHO) initiative, which is designed to study how environmental factors in early development influence the health of children and adolescents.

Rhode Island Hospital is part of the NIH’s Institutional Development Award (IDeA) network, which helps broaden the distribution of NIH grant money in states and areas that have previously received less funding from NIH than others. The funding will allow Rhode Island Hospital to build an IDeA States Pediatric Clinical Trials Network (ISPCTN), which will support a four-year project entitled “Rhode Island Child Clinical Trials Collaborative” (RICCTC), enabling Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Women and Infants Hospital, and Brown University to develop a pediatric clinical trials network as well as participate in the national NIH network.

“This grant has great potential. It will allow some of Rhode Island’s leading medical research institutions – including our state’s major children’s hospital and obstetrics delivery hospital – to conduct clinical trials that will have a major impact on the future of children’s health in Rhode Island and across the nation,” said Senator Reed, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, who helped include a $2 billion increase for NIH medical research in the fiscal year 2017 Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-H) Appropriations bill, bringing NIH’s annual funding up to about $34 billion.

In August, Senator Reed sent a letter to NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins in support of Rhode Island Hospital’s application.

In announcing the grant, NIH Director Collins stated: “Every baby should have the best opportunity to remain healthy and thrive throughout childhood. ECHO will help us better understand the factors that contribute to optimal health in children.”

“We know that pediatric health issues can impact a child for the rest of his or her life,” said Phyllis Dennery, M.D., pediatrician-in-chief at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. “But, we also know that early intervention can drastically improve the course of a child’s long-term health and even avoid negative outcomes altogether. So, better understanding of how maternal and environmental influences impact diseases such as autism, obesity and asthma amongst others, will be very important to the health of Rhode Island children and children across the country.”

The grant for Rhode Island is part of a $157 million commitment NIH is making in fiscal year 2016 to support the ECHO program.