The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)—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 preventing prenatal alcohol exposure, treating women with alcohol use disorder, improving the diagnosis of FASD, establishing more precise prevalence estimates of FASD in the United States, increasing our understanding of the effects of alcohol on the unborn child, and developing effective interventions to mitigate the health effects on individuals prenatally exposed to alcohol.

NIAAA’s FASD Grant Portfolio: Annually, NIAAA expends about 7 to 8 percent of its extramural research and training budget, or roughly $25 million, toward its portfolio of FASD-related grants. This portfolio comprises approximately 90 grants, including research project 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 (see

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 prevention of FASD, 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 by coordinating clinical, basic, and translational research. Learn more about the CIFASD at

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 in 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 during pregnancy and through 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 the PASS Network at

The Collaboration on FASD Prevalence (CoFASP) research consortium 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 publicly available database to facilitate future FASD research.





Last reviewed: November 2017