To Colleagues and Friends of the National Children’s Study:
In May of this year the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released its review of the National Children’s Study Research Plan. This letter introduces the National Children’s Study Response to the NAS Review (PDF 301 KB). The Study’s two-volume Research Plan describes the Study’s background, design, and measures up to 18 months of age. This independent review was requested by the National Children’s Study and by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Institutional Review Board, the internal body governing all NICHD studies involving human volunteers. The purpose of the NAS review was to ensure that the Study is as scientifically rigorous as possible and will yield the greatest possible research benefits. The NAS report is available at: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12211 .
Noting that the Study’s goals and design were responsive to its authorizing legislation and meet the call for a national, long-term study of the environmental influences on children’s health and development, the NAS panel affirmed that the Study should be carried out and that the general approaches were found to be appropriate. The Study’s large, nationally representative sample design and the ability to measure multiple exposures and outcomes over a long period of time were identified as major strengths of the Study.
The NAS panel also identified a number of concerns and recommendations for realizing the Study’s optimum potential. The Study has carefully considered all of the identified concerns and the 33 recommendations in the NAS report and has responded accordingly. The Study is very pleased with the NAS review of the Research Plan and feels that it clearly met the objectives for performing it. Although, as noted in more detail in the Study’s response, some of the concerns and recommendations are either already being addressed or would require substantial additional resources to implement. Additionally, a number of the recommendations point to ways that the Study can be improved. We welcome these recommendations and where possible will be incorporating them into the Study.
We think that the NAS panel performed a thorough and balanced review that offers valuable support and improvements to the Study, and we thank the NAS panel for their hard work.
Peter C. Scheidt, MD, MPH
Director, National Children’s Study
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
National Institutes of Health