Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) External Scientific Board


Following the closure of the National Children’s Study in December 2014, Dr. Francis Collins, the NIH Director, emphasized the importance of and need for research addressing the links between the environment and child health and development. Early in 2015, NIH created a working group to develop a plan to address research at the intersection of pediatric and environmental health. This working group comprised representatives from 16 Institutes, Centers, and Offices within the NIH. To gather feedback from external communities on the direction of the plan, the working group coordinated numerous outreach activities including Stakeholder Roundtables in mid-July 2015; three webinars in late July 2015; and Requests for Information (RFI) on the ECHO Program in July and August 2015.

In September 2016, NIH launched an initiative, the ECHO Program, whose mission is to enhance the health of children for generations to come. An External Scientific Board works to oversee the program and consider how to overcome challenges to the ECHO Program and to provide advice on strategies to ensure the long-term success of the ECHO program. Members include individuals with scientific and biomedical expertise in pediatrics, early childhood development, public health, environmental toxins, epidemiology, and community-based participatory research, as well as research with American Indian and Alaskan Native peoples.

The Board meets twice yearly, and reports to the Council of Councils, who advises the NIH Director on ECHO progress.


The ECHO External Scientific Board will provide advice on strategies to ensure the long-term success of the ECHO program. Challenges to the ECHO Program include fostering a culture of collaboration and synergy; attending to numerous stakeholders, such as Congress, researchers, professional societies and participants; harmonizing data across disparate cohorts; capitalizing on expertise within as well as outside NIH; incorporating all ECHO components under one umbrella; ensuring early, sustained successes; and using funds wisely. 



Lynn Goldman, MD, MPH, MS
Dean, Milken Institute School of Public Health
The George Washington University


Maria Rosario (Happy) Araneta, PhD, MPH
Assistant Dean of Diversity and Community Partnerships
Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health
University of California, San Diego School of Medicine

Cynthia Gyamfi Bannerman, MD, MSc
Vice Chair for Faculty Development
Ellen Jacobson Levine and Eugene Jacobson Professor of Women’s Health in OBGYN
Director, Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship Program
Co-Director, CUMC Preterm Birth Prevention Center
Columbia University Medical Center

William Freeman, MD, MPH, CIP
Program Director, Center for Health & Human Protections Administrator
Director, Tribal Community Health Programs
Northwest Indian College

Mr. Mark Hogsett
Member, NICU Parent Advisory Council
March of Dimes NICU Family Support Program
Children’s National Health System

Parvesh Kumar, MD
Professor and Chair, Department of Radiation Oncology
Director, Cancer Program
Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Research
University of Nevada - Las Vegas School of Medicine

Anna Maria Siega-Riz, PhD
Dean and Professor
Departments of Nutrition, and Biostatistics and Epidemiology
School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts

Kent Thornburg, PhD
Professor of Medicine
Director, Center for Developmental Health, Knight Cardiovascular Institute
Director, Bob and Charlee Moore Institute for Nutrition Wellness
Oregon Health and Science University

Ms. Nsedu Witherspoon, MPH
Executive Director
Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN)

Executive Secretary

Erin Luetkemeier, PhD
Chief of Staff
Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program
National Institutes of Health

This page last reviewed on July 23, 2021