2022 Student Research Conference:
35th Annual Undergraduate and 20th Annual Graduate Research Conference

Abstract Submission Online Schedule

Plenary Address

Dr. Sonia Arteaga
Program Officer, Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes, National Institutes of Health

Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program at the NIH

Abstract: What factors effect children’s health and how can we enhance it? In this presentation you will learn about one of the largest investments that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has put into child health, the productive and impactful science it has yielded, and the anticipated success for the next phase. The mission of the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) at the NIH is to enhance the health of children for generations to come. The scientific goal of ECHO is to understand the effects of a broad range of early environmental influences on child health and development. ECHO uses information from existing longitudinal cohorts that include more than 50,000 children from diverse backgrounds across the United States. Together, these cohorts follow participants from before they are born through childhood and adolescence. ECHO also supports a 17-state clinical trials network to test prevention and treatment strategies among children from rural and medically underserved backgrounds. ECHO informs solutions to five common pediatric outcomes with major public health impact. These five outcome areas include pre, peri and postnatal, upper and lower airway, obesity, neurodevelopment and positive health or well-being.  In addition to learning about ECHO, you will also learn more about the NIH and Dr. Arteaga’s career trajectory.  

Bio: At the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Dr. Arteaga has developed and led several, large research initiatives related to behavioral, social, community, and policy factors that impact health behaviors and obesity with a special emphasis on diverse populations. Currently, she is a Supervisory Health Scientist Administrator in the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program in the Office of the Director at the NIH. ECHO is a billion-dollar, seven-year research program that includes an observational component of nearly 70 diverse cohorts in 33 states with over 50,000 participants (children and their families). She joined ECHO in 2019 and her role is to lead a team of Program Officers that work with over 1200 researchers across the country to implement and execute the scientific goals of ECHO. Additionally, Dr. Arteaga is the Program lead for ECHO’s Opportunity Infrastructure Fund which provides scientific opportunities for young investigators, she also leads the diversity and equity efforts within the ECHO Program, and manages a diverse portfolio of grants focusing on obesity and environmental influences on children’s health. Prior to joining ECHO, she was a Program Director at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at NIH where she led several research initiatives, including the Healthy Communities Study, a large observational study in 130 diverse communities and over 5000 children and their families to assess the characteristics of programs and policies and their associations with body mass index, diet, and physical activity in children. Dr. Arteaga was also the NHLBI lead for the Lifestyle Interventions for Expectant Moms consortium which was a group of clinical trials that targeted appropriate gestational weight gain among women with overweight and obesity. She is a member of the Senior Leadership Group of the NIH Obesity Research Task Force and provides leadership on the development and coordination of obesity research efforts across the NIH. She is also a member of the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research and works with other federal agencies to further childhood obesity research. Dr. Arteaga received her Ph.D. in community-social/behavioral medicine psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Spanish from Truman State University. Dr. Arteaga has published nearly 50 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, has presented at several scientific conferences, and has received numerous awards from NIH for her scientific contributions.