Jackson Heart Study examines cardiovascular disease in African Americans

The Jackson Heart Study is the world’s largest, comprehensive investigation of cardiovascular health and disease among African Americans.  The project explores the reasons there is a greater prevalence of CVD within the ethnic group. Some 5,301 African-American men and women are participants, and spin-off studies of the JHS include children as well. Jackson State University is a leading collaborator on the project as the study’s coordinating center. The university conducts community education and outreach programs and enhances the undergraduate training experience through opportunities to work with JHS data and investigators.

Jackson State is proud to be a part of the Jackson Heart Study, initiated by the National Institutes of Health Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities in 1998. The other main partners in the project are the University of Mississippi Medical Center and Tougaloo College. This research is expected to lead to better treatment and preventative measures to reduce the incidence of CVD among African-Americans. Death rates for cardiovascular disease in the U.S. are considerably higher among African-Americans than Whites.  Rates for both groups in Mississippi are the highest in the nation.

Dr. Herman Taylor, M.D., M.P.H., FACC, FAHA, is the director and principal investigator for the Jackson Heart Study. Taylor said the study is an evolving example of community-centered public health research that may serve as a model to be used in other communities and with other populations.

“We have a platform for research that is unparalleled. The study aims to transform a history of heart disease in African Americans into a legacy of heart health through research,” said Taylor. “Furthermore, it is enabling minority students at undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels to pursue careers in public health, medicine and epidemiology.”

The primary scientific objective is to investigate physiologic, genetic and environmental causes of the disproportionate burden of CVD in African-Americans and to learn how best to prevent these diseases. The operational objectives are to build research capabilities in minority institutions, address the critical shortage of minority investigators in epidemiology and prevention, and reduce barriers to dissemination and utilization of health information in a minority population. Over 5,301 participants have completed exams that include demographics, psychosocial inventories and medical history.

For more information:

Jackson Heart Study



NIH National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

Jackson Heart Study Data Book



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