Multiple studies have compared cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular outcomes in African American and white populations. These comparisons implicitly assume relative homogeneity in risk within race/ethnic groups yet cardiovascular risk is markedly heterogeneous within African Americans. Social and psychosocial factors alone or in interaction with genetic predispositions may be important contributors to this heterogeneity. Understanding the causes of this heterogeneity is important for reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease in African Americans and for reducing health disparities. The overall scientific goals of the Project are (1) to investigate socioeconomic and psychosocial predictors of longitudinal changes in cardiovascular risk factors and incident cardiovascular events in African Americans, and the factors that may contribute to the effects of these factors;(2) to explore whether social or psychosocial factors modify the impact of previously identified genetic predictors of blood pressure, body mass index, and diabetes. This project builds on the findings of the prior funding period and the very successful partnership between the University of Michigan and the Jackson Heart Study. In addition to the scientific aims, a major goal of the project is to enhance the scientific productivity of JHS generally, with a special emphasis on enhancing the edacity and productivity of JHS investigators at Jackson State and at the University of Mississippi. Our approach is novel in that we will examine heterogeneity within African Americans using a state of the art cohort study with uniquely rich measurement in both the sociocultural and biologic domains. This will allow us to investigate not only social and psychosocial predictors of longitudinal changes in CVD risks factors and events but also their interaction with genetic predispositions. We will replicate key gene-environment analyses in other large cohorts with similar measurements. Our research project is integrated with training/mentoring activities designed specifically for young researchers interested in health disparities and is also closely linked to the Community Engagement/Outreach Core which will disseminate our findings and assist in translating them into policy. Our proposal is innovative in its integrated social/biological approach and in its strong links to training and community activities directly connected to the scientific goals of the project.

Public Health Relevance

This project will investigate how social and biologic factors interact to shape the distribution of cardiovascular risk among African Americans. The identification of factors related to heterogeneity in cardiovascular risk within African Americans is important to identify the pretevention strategies most likely to be effective.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Comprehensive Center (P60)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZMD1-RN)
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University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor
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