The JHS is the largest single-site prospective, epidemiological study of CVD among African Americans undertaken to date. It is focused on African-American health, yet comprehensive in its scientific scope. Its design will allow future refinements in scientific direction, the development of ancillary projects, and the formation of synergistic collaborations to develop and test novel hypotheses as our understanding of the CVD epidemic continues to evolve. This effort represents an important part of a broad-based, multi-pronged assault on ethnic disparities in the United States. Its novel capacity-building, minority training, and community participation components make it an exemplary model for American research. Meaningful community participation in the development of JHS owes much to the approaches described by Wyatt et al in this issue.