The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study site at Florida International University (FIU) has been recruiting 9- and 10-year-old participants since November 2016. Led by Drs. Raul Gonzalez and Angela Laird, our ABCD team has enrolled over 300 families, with the help and collaboration of the Miami-Dade County Public School system. We have amazing team members who are dedicated to the mission of the ABCD study. They are also a lot of fun to be around and enjoy spending time with our participating families. Photo above: One of our superstar participants with ABCD team member Andrea Roman and Principal Investigator, Dr. Angela Laird. [Credit: Patrick Farrell]
The high energy, commitment, and resilience of our team and participants were evident as our community experienced the impact of Hurricane Irma. Hurricane Irma made landfall as a Category 4 Hurricane in South Florida on September 10. This was the largest Atlantic hurricane on record and led to the largest human evacuation in American history (approximately 7 million people). The storm caused extensive damage to homes and local flora, hitting the Miami-Dade County area particularly hard, with significant flooding, storm surge, and high winds. Most families were left without power and some returned to damaged or lost homes. FIU and Miami-Dade County Public Schools were closed for 11 days. Photo above: Hurricane Irma approaching South Florida. [Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project]
Sitting from left to right: Lartiza Diaz, Dayana Paula, Jacqueline Duperrouzel, Ileana Pacheco-Colon, Ariel Gonzalez, and Chelsea Greaves.
Standing from left to right: Samuel Hawes, William Pulido, Veronica Abello, Matthew Sutherland, Anthony Dick, Cody Riedel, Katherine Bottenhorn, Laura Ucros, Jennifer Foreman, and Raul Gonzalez.
Our team and ABCD families are still recovering, but despite this big challenge we have already had 15 families visit us since the reopening of the university and school system. We are very grateful to them and to our team, and we are incredibly proud of their commitment to the ABCD mission. We will soon be starting the 1-year follow-up visits and we are all looking forward to seeing our participants again!
We hope that everyone in the Miami area is safe and sound. Our hearts go out to those with families in Puerto Rico and our neighboring islands who have also been severely affected.