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Right From the Start’s Legacy


RFTS grew from three “parent” studies which created and sustained this large community-recruited cohort. These grants pivoted on research questions about:

Water Disinfection By-Products & Pregnancy Health

Uterine Fibroids & Pregnancy Health

Pain Medication Use & Pregnancy Health



Supplemental Studies, are those with additional funding to address focused questions alongside aspects of RFTS. These included The Healthy Men’s Study, [and names of EPA/CDC water projects here]. Ancillary Studies, draw in part or in whole on robust data available from RFTS. Many of these nurtured the doctoral or master’s work of graduate students and post-doctoral trainees.


RFTS began in 1999 at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health, with Dr. David A. Savitz, the chair of epidemiology as the principal investigator. The first phase was funded by the American Water Works Association Research Foundation. Two subsequent major phases were funded by National Institutes for Health as R01 grants to Dr. Katherine E. Hartmann. The study, data, and tracking of participants and children after pregnancy has been based at Vanderbilt University Medical Center since 2007.


While the participants ultimately made our work possible, a core team of 11 researchers brought the study into being, implementing infrastructure, recruitment, and follow-up of those enrolled, and more than 20 others contributed specialized expertise in areas like men’s reproduction, chemical and environmental measures, and advanced statistical methods.