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Challenges of Pediatric Clinical Research: Examples from the Children’s Health after the Storms (CHATS) Study

*Laura B Strange, RTI International  
Christine S Brennan, LSUHSC School of Public Health 

Keywords: pediatrics, clinical research, home based data collection

Pediatric clinic research is riddled with many obstacles. The Children’s Health after the Storms (CHATS) Study, is a partnership between RTI, Louisiana State University Health Science Center, and Coastal Family Health Center, designed to assess the short- and long-term health effects among children (3-15 years of age) who lived in temporary housing units (THUs) provided by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Though these children may be identifiable and locatable through various sampling methods, recruitment and long term follow up of subjects under 15 years of age present unique barriers. Such barriers may include guardian’s lack of willingness to consent to research involving their children, the cognitive and emotional development of the child to assent and participate in the data collection, and accessibility to school age children for data collection. CHATS has considered all these potential barriers within its study design which includes home based data collection, utilizing pediatric nurses for data collection, and data collection method that minimize stress to the child while assuring data quality and reliability. This paper discusses the challenges that home based biological data collection presents and the technical and quality control issues of conducting pediatric clinical research

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