The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism—part of the National Institutes of Health, the Nation's medical research agency—has a large research program on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) that sponsors projects on prevention, treatment of women with alcohol use disorders, improving diagnosis of FASD, increasing understanding of the effects of alcohol on the unborn child, and developing effective interventions to mitigate the health effects on those prenatally exposed to alcohol.

NIAAA's FASD Grant Portfolio: Annually, NIAAA expends about 8-9% of its extramural research and training budget, or roughly $30 million, toward its portfolio of FASD-related grants.  This portfolio is comprised of approximately 90 grants, including research program grants, cooperative agreements, training grants, center grants, fellowships, and career development awards, that collectively address FASD prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and etiology.  In addition, NIAAA funds a conference grant that supports the annual meeting of the FASD Study Group.

The Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (CIFASD) is a multidisciplinary consortium of domestic and international projects established by NIAAA in 2003 to address the prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), the diagnosis of the full range of birth defects associated with prenatal alcohol exposure, and ameliorative interventions for affected individuals.  CIFASD aims to accelerate the translation of key research findings by fostering collaboration and coordinating clinical, basic, and translational research. Learn more about CIFASD.

The Prenatal Alcohol and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Stillbirth (PASS) Network is an international consortium investigating the role of prenatal alcohol exposure in the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), stillbirth, and FASD.   The PASS Network is conducting community-based investigations known as the Safe Passage Study in high-risk communities of the Northern Plains of the United States and the Western Cape of South Africa.  This prospective study plans to enroll approximately 12,000 pregnant women and follow the development of their offspring through pregnancy and the infants’ first year of life.  NIAAA funds the PASS Network in partnership with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).  Learn more about PASS.

The Collaboration on FASD Prevalence (CoFASP) research consortium, comprised of research teams led by Drs. Christina Chambers and Phil May, seeks to establish the prevalence of FASD among school-aged children in several U.S. communities, located in California, North Carolina, and the Northern Plains, using active case ascertainment methodology.  In addition to establishing a more precise and representative prevalence estimate through standardized diagnostic criteria for FASD, NIAAA’s goal for this initiative is to establish a publically available database to facilitate future FASD research.