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

J Natl Med Assoc. 2005 Jul;97(7):972-9.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asian / psychology
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / ethnology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Community Health Centers*
  • Female
  • Geography
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Patient Selection*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Southeastern United States / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires