Improving the lives of infants and children with developmental disabilities will be the focus of Washington University’s new Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (WUIDDRC). More than 60 investigators from 12 university departments will be involved in the center’s research.
Established with a five-year, nearly $6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the center will focus on research to prevent and treat developmental disabilities in children. Special emphasis will be placed on clinical and translational research as well as on reaching out to families and the community with resources and services.
“Developmental disabilities are very challenging for families,” says Terrie E. Inder, MD, PhD, director of the WUIDDRC and professor of pediatrics, of radiology and of neurology and a neonatal specialist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “Our long-term goal is to provide better care to children in our area through research, advocacy and better clinical services.”
Many families with children who have developmental disabilities receive services from the state in which they live; however, those services have been limited due to budget constraints. The WUIDDRC will work closely with the State of Missouri and will assist state committees with recent research findings to guide future directions of services. The WUIDDRC also has reached out to community partners and other programs in Missouri to engage them in the center’s services and develop additional active collaborations.
The WUIDDRC received additional startup funding from the McDonnell Centers for System Neuroscience and Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology and from the School of Medicine.
Inder also plans to collaborate with other IDDRCs in the Midwest to share knowledge and resources. “Collaboration will give us greater knowledge of opportunities for helping families and will move the science forward faster,” she says.