Children’s Respiratory and Environment Workgroup (CREW)

Project Title: Children’s Respiratory and Environment Workgroup (CREW)

Sponsor: NIH’s Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program

Prime: University of Wisconsin-Madison (Subcontractor: Rho)

Project Status: Active

Project Start: September 2016

Diseases: Asthma, Allergies, Bronchial Diseases, Respiratory Tract Diseases, Lung Diseases

Objective: The CREW is a consortium of 12 birth cohorts comprising 6,000+ research participants established to examine early-life risk factors for asthma and allergic disease. CREW is one of the 35 U.S. awardee groups that make up the Pediatric Cohort component of the ECHO program, which is investigating how exposure to a range of environmental factors in early development influences the health of children and adolescents.

Project Information: Rho’s role for CREW is to collaborate closely with the University of Wisconsin-Madison leaders of the CREW consortium to act as the coordinating center for the project, assisting with administrative coordination and study process standardization. Rho set up and maintains the project website, schedules and organizes conference calls and in-person meetings, tracks action items, and manages communications among the participating cohorts. We work with the investigators for each cohort, along with the study coordinators, data managers, and lab personnel at each research site.

Rho’s work for CREW can be likened to a set of Russian nesting dolls. As a part of Rho’s DAIT SACCC award, we coordinate the Urban Environment and Childhood Asthma (URECA) study for the Inner-City Asthma Consortium, a birth cohort study with 4 research sites and over 600 families. URECA is one of the 12 CREW birth cohorts. And CREW is part of ECHO, with 35 awards, 84 birth cohorts, 50,000 or more children, and diverse research initiatives encompassing asthma/allergy, obesity, perinatal outcomes and neurodevelopment. ECHO and CREW are only in the first year of planning, but Rho, CREW, and ECHO are all grappling with issues related to data harmonization (combining data where possible from questions that were not asked in exactly the same way), diverse types of data collection tools and methodologies, and competing priorities and timelines of the various stakeholders. As an example of the challenges that are being undertaken, ECHO is developing an overarching protocol with required data collection elements for every cohort. With every investigator having their own favorite set of questionnaires and procedures, the task now is to reach consensus on which elements will be required vs. recommended. In the meantime, the CREW protocol, with its own standardized instruments, needs to be developed and implemented to meet the milestones and requirements set by the ECHO program.


  • Communication, Study Websites, and Meetings
  • Development of Study Materials and Procedures
  • Training of Study Personnel
  • Foreign Language Translations
  • Electronic Data Capture
  • Sample Collection, Processing, Shipment, and Analysis
  • Laboratory Data Management
  • Data Quality Control
  • Security and Confidentiality
  • Quality Assurance