Contact: Luke Frank, Media Relations Manager, 505/272-3679

Lauren Cruse, Public Affairs Representative, 505/272-3690

Cindy Foster, Senior Public Affairs Representative 505/272-0260 FOR RELEASE

OCTOBER 4, 2007

ALBUQUERQUE , NM – The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center’s Department of Pediatrics has been awarded a five-year, $12.3 million research contract to partner with the people of Valencia County in the NIH’s National Children’s Study. Valencia County will be the study location from which 1,000 pregnant women will be recruited and enrolled, and their newborn children regularly examined from birth to age 21 to better understand the multiple influences on their health and development.

The National Children’s Study is designed to investigate the effects of environmental exposures, like air and water quality, nutrition and the community environment, and genetic influences on pregnancy outcomes, child health and development.

Researchers will examine how these elements interact with one another across sites from around the U.S. and what effects they might have on children’s health. “This is an extraordinary study involving 100,000 pregnant women and their children nationally, the likes of which we haven’t seen in the U.S.,” says Dr. Paul Roth, Executive Vice President for Health Sciences at UNM, and dean of the School of Medicine. “And the potential benefits to the health of New Mexicans and communities in Valencia County are equally large.”

According to UNM’s Principal Investigator Dr. Robert Annett, Valencia County represents the desired combination of birth rate, urban and rural characteristics, ethnicity, health care accessibility and other criteria to help researchers better understand the role of genetic and environmental factors on health and how they can be addressed. There will be a four-year recruitment period for the 26-year, longitudinal study.

Annett already has assembled a team of investigators from UNM’s departments of Pediatrics, Family and Community Medicine and the College of Nursing to collaborate in the study. “We’ll establish a study center in Valencia County and employ local staff to help with the research,” he adds. “UNM will manage the study, but Valencia County residents, community leaders, physicians and other allied health practitioners are the key ingredients, and hopefully will receive the greatest benefits from this research.”

UNM’s component of the National Children’s Study will partner with the Health Sciences Center’s rapidly developing Clinical and Translation Science Center (CTSC). “This is precisely the type of study the CTSC is pursuing as part of our mission to increase ‘bench-to-bedside’ research that delivers proven health solutions to New Mexicans and beyond,” says Dr. Richard Larson, Health Sciences Center Vice President for Translational Research and Senior Associate Dean for Research in the UNM School of Medicine. For more information on the National Children’s Study, visitwww.nationalchildrensstudy.govorhttp://hsc.unm.edu/research/or call 505/272-3679.


Contact: Luke Frank, 272-3322