Abstract: The Jackson Heart Study: Early Insights and Implications for Future Directions

The goal of the Jackson Heart Study (JHS) is to build a platform for improving the cardiovascular health of communities based on rigorous scientific observation, the training of future leaders in medical and public health research and care, and effective community partnering. The scientific output of the JHS, rapidly expanding through the collaborative work of local and national investigators, is beginning to define the scope and determinants of the cardiovascular disease (CVD) epidemic as it manifests in an economically diverse and high CVD-risk African American community. The early findings have implications for not only African Americans in the South, but for African Americans across the US and all who are threatened by cardiovascular disease.

The persistent trends of CVD disparities noted over the course of the JHS and its companion observational study, ARIC (begun in 1987), make a strong case that research in health disparities should move resolutely towards efforts to translation of epidemiological findings into prevention through the development of novel intervention trials of efficacy and effectiveness to alter the differential trajectories of CVD in the population. Studies like the JHS offer important opportunities to set the stage for this future phase of the control and prevention of health disparities. Dr. Taylor will discuss the present status and future promise of this landmark study.