At a May 2 congressional hearing, Karen Studwell of APA's Public Policy Office requested fiscal year 2003 funds to continue and further the work of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

"Child development involves some of the most complex and important questions facing behavioral and social science researchers," she told members of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.

Studwell spoke on behalf of Friends of NICHD, a 16-year-old coalition of approximately 100 organizations, including APA, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Society and the Children's Defense Fund. The coalition, which Studwell co-chairs, supports a fiscal year 2003 appropriation of $27.3 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and urged the subcommittee to support a $1.28 billion budget for NICHD.

That level of funding is needed to capitalize on emerging discoveries and to address urgent public health needs, Studwell said. NICHD has contributed to recent advances in vaccines, infertility, maternal-fetal medicine, infant mortality reduction, and the genetics of autism, mental retardation and developmental disabilities. The funding will also enable NICHD to continue planning for the National Children's Study, a national longitudinal study of environmental influences on the health and development of 100,000 children during pre- and postnatal growth and development through early adulthood. The NICHD is leading the collaborative effort that includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency and other NIH institutes. "Understanding the interplay among behavior, social and physical environment, and biology is central to discovering ways to prevent behavior-based health problems ranging from fetal alcohol syndrome, to teen pregnancy, to AIDS to violence," said Studwell.