LITTLE ROCK — The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences said Wednesday it has been awarded a $41.8 million grant by the National Institutes of Health to participate in a national study of environmental influences on early development.


The money will fund a 17-site pediatric clinical trial network, overseen by UAMS, that will provide medically underserved and rural children access to clinical studies, the research hospital said in a news release.


The grant is part of a national seven-year, $157 million initiative announced Wednesday by the NIH titled Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes, or ECHO. The ECHO initiative will investigate how exposure to a range of environmental factors in early development — conception through early childhood — affects the health of children and adolescents.


Arkansas Children’s Research Institute at Arkansas Children’s Hospital said Wednesday it will receive $1.9 million from the NIH over four years to fund the infrastructure for a network that will connect children to clinical trials.