Request for information (RFI) on enhancing the science for the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

April 22, 2021

Response Date:
New Date June 8, 2021, as per NOT-OD-21-129

Related Announcements

NOT-OD-21-129 - Notice to Extend the Response Date for NOT-OD-21-108

Issued by

Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD)

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)


This Notice is a time sensitive RFI to gather input about enhancing the science of the ECHO program.

NOTE:It is important to read this entire RFI notice to ensure you prepare an adequate response and to have a full understanding of how NIH will use your response.

Background: In 2016 NIH launched the nationwide ECHO Program. Its mission is to enhance the health of children for generations to come. The impact of ECHO’s observational research rests on availability of combined data from multiple diverse pre-existing and ongoing maternal-child cohort studies, driven by the ECHO-wide Cohort data collection protocol. To date the ECHO-wide Cohort data platform contains data on over 50,000 children and their families.

Information Requested

This RFI seeks input from stakeholders throughout the extramural scientific community and the general public regarding enhancing the science of ECHO.

The NIH seeks comments on any or all of but not limited to, the following topics:

I. General Topics

  • Approaches to promote scientific value while reducing burden on participants and staff in large consortia of parent-child cohort studies that involve primary data collection, including but not limited to
    • Innovative tools and approaches for remote data and biospecimen collection in large epidemiologic studies
    • Optimal frequencies of data collection
    • Balance of essential and recommended protocol elements
  • Nimbleness to address public health emergencies in large collaborative consortia of longitudinal studies
  • Engagement strategies to enhance recruitment and retention of diverse study populations
  • Promotion of diversity of the scientific workforce related to child health

II. Preconceptional Origins of Child Health Outcomes:

  • Identifying solution-oriented (“so what”) scientific questions about preconceptional origins of child health outcomes, based on knowledge from pre-clinical, clinical work, and population research, including but not necessarily limited to the following preconception factors:
    • Obesity and lifestyle factors such as diet, sleep, physical activity
    • Physical and chemical exposures
    • Fathers
    • Psychosocial and societal influences
  • Strategies for recruiting participants preconceptionally, and retaining through pregnancy into childhood
    • Feasibility of different strategies, including ensuring adequate sample sizes of births and participant diversity, from
      • Young women and men, already participating in ECHO cohort studies, entering reproductive age
      • Women with a recent pregnancy in ECHO, and their partners, who may have a subsequent pregnancy
      • Women and men of reproductive age irrespective of previous participation in ECHO
  • Measures and biospecimens from prospective mothers and fathers that cohorts should collect prior to or in early pregnancy, including among the 3 sources of potential participants above
  • Ethical considerations regarding study participation of biological and non-biological fathers

For more information about this RFI, please join us for a webinar on May 6, 2021 at 2:30-3:30 p.m. ET

Also, for your information, ECHO will sponsor a workshop on Preconceptional Origins of Child Health Outcomes on June 17 and 18, 2021. Please register here.

How to Submit a Response

You must submit your response electronically as follows:

Responses to this RFI Notice are voluntary. NIH will not consider submitted information confidential. Responses are welcome from associations and professional organizations as well as individuals. This RFI is for planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the National Institutes of Health, or individual NIH Institutes or Centers. The NIH will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion. NIH will analyze the information submitted and may share it internally or in reports. The information may or may not be reflected in future solicitations, as appropriate and at the Government’s discretion. NIH advises respondents the Government is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information provided and will not provide feedback to respondents.


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