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Southern community cohort study: establishing a cohort to investigate health disparities.

Signorello LB, Hargreaves MK, Steinwandel MD, Zheng W, Cai Q, Schlundt DG, Buchowski MS, Arnold CW, McLaughlin JK, Blot WJ
J Natl Med Assoc. 2005 97 (7): 972-9

PMID: 16080667 · PMCID: PMC2569308

OBJECTIVES - To demonstrate the methods of recruitment of a low-income, predominantly African-American study population for the Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS), a prospective epidemiologic investigation of racial disparities in cancer risk.

METHODS - Partnerships with community health centers (CHCs) were formed to reach underserved populations throughout the south. Recruitment of participants (aged 40-79) in CHCs began in March 2002. Participants complete a comprehensive baseline interview and provide a blood or buccal cell sample. Recruitment will expand to the general population of the south to achieve a broad cross-section of socioeconomic status, The final cohort size is expected to be approximately 100,000.

RESULTS - A high level of cooperation and recruitment was achieved in the CHCs. From March 2002 to October 2004, 32,632 participants (80% black, 41% male, 62% with total household income < $15,000, 34% with < 12 years schooling) enrolled. Participants reported a high prevalence of medical conditions (21% diabetic, 44% obese) and adverse health behaviors (45% current smokers).

CONCLUSIONS - Working in CHCs is successful for recruiting a population that has been difficult to reach in previous studies. The SCCS is a unique cohort that will provide a rich resource for evaluating disparities in cancer and other chronic disease risk as it is followed over time.

MeSH Terms (21)

Adult African Americans Aged Asian Americans Cardiovascular Diseases Cohort Studies Community Health Centers Female Geography Hispanic Americans Humans Male Middle Aged Neoplasms Patient Selection Pilot Projects Prospective Studies Risk Assessment Socioeconomic Factors Southeastern United States Surveys and Questionnaires

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