The NYT reports on the giant National Children’s Study, which aims to study a cohort of 100,000 children from the first trimester till age 21. They’re going to take blood, urine, placentas, feces, GPS data, schools, neighbors — the works — in a colossal attempt to see what makes children tick, tock and stop ticking in America.
However, the study, run by the NIH, and set to cost $3.1 billion $6.7 billion, or whatever, is finding it more difficult than anticipated to recruit pregnant women, which was the angle of the NYT story. They’re knocking on doors to find women who are pregnant. After acknowledging the multi-billion-dollar budget problem, the NYT reports:
new recruiting methods will be tried, including having doctors encourage patients to enroll. That was previously rejected because investigators felt doctor-referred patients would exclude some women, like those not getting prenatal care.
This all seems inefficient. Is there no list of pregnant women they could randomly sample from? Oh, yeah: no national healthcare system. That’s why there are women who don’t get prenatal care. So how much of this moon-shot-sized budget is going toward working around the simple, ugly fact of America’s healthcare rationing?
As an aside, one of the NCS study sites is in Duplin County, North Carolina, run by the Carolina Population Center (at which I am a fellow). In 2006, I had the pleasure of visiting Duplin County, which has a rapidly growing Latino population, part of the unsung new-rural immigrant reality emerging in the last several decades. That’s where I took this picture, at Grady Elementary School.