Large translational research initiatives can strengthen efficiencies and support science with enhanced impact when practical conceptual models guide their design, implementation, and evaluation. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program brings together data from 72 ongoing maternal–child cohort studies – involving more than 50,000 children and over 1200 investigators – to conduct transdisciplinary solution-oriented research that addresses how early environmental exposures influence child health. ECHO uses a multi-team system approach to consortium-wide data collection and analysis to generate original research that informs programs, policies, and practices to enhance children’s health. Here, we share two conceptual models informed by ECHO’s experiences and the Science of Team Science. The first conceptual model illuminates a system of teams and associated tasks that support collaboration toward shared scientific goals. The second conceptual model provides a framework for designing evaluations for continuous quality improvement of manuscript writing teams. Together, the two conceptual models offer guidance for the design, implementation, and evaluation of translational and transdisciplinary multi-team research initiatives.