The largest long-term study of brain development and child health in the U.S. is underway and FIU researchers are at the forefront.
FIU is one of the 19 research sites for the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) landmark study dubbed the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development, or ABCD. The study will follow the biological and behavioral development of more than 10,000 children beginning at ages 9-10 through adolescence into early adulthood.
Recruitment for ABCD has started and will continue over a two-year period through partnerships with public and private schools near research sites across the country. The NIH has identified a specific list of schools for participant enrollment in South Florida to include hundreds of youth from diverse ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds in Miami-Dade County and surrounding areas. Leading the recruitment efforts for FIU is psychologist Raul Gonzalez.
“Having a site in South Florida will ensure that the voices of our community are included in the study,” Gonzalez said. “We want to ensure our unique and diverse community is well represented in the larger sample.”
Gonzalez is associate professor of psychology, psychiatry and immunology, and a faculty member at the FIU Center for Children and Families. He is leading the 14-member research team from FIU’s College of Arts, Sciences & Educationand Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work. The project includes child mental health and social work experts, as well as psychologists and a physicist, who have extensive track records in drug abuse research and cognitive neuroscience.