COCHRAN ADVOCATES GREATER NIH & JACKSON HEART STUDY COLLABORATION

Appropriations Chairman Promotes Mississippi’s Research Capacities During NIH Budget Review

Hearing Audio Clip: [http://1.usa.gov/20cc2Eb]

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, today promoted greater collaboration between Mississippi-based health research initiatives and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

At a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing to examine the FY2017 NIH budget request, Cochran encouraged the NIH to leverage the success of the Jackson Heart Study and other research in Mississippi as the NIH works to build a national research cohort of one million volunteer participants for the Precision Medicine Initiative, started last year.

“The important research being done by the Jackson Heart Study enjoys NIH support and I think that relationship should be strengthened. This research in Mississippi can help advance medical research that can benefit the entire nation,” Cochran said following the hearing.

“Last year, Congress provided the NIH with the largest discretionary funding increase in over a decade, including $200 million for the Precision Medicine Initiative, which will build a national research cohort. I hope the NIH will use existing research cohorts, like the Jackson Heart Study, in this initiative,” he said.

The Jackson Heart Study, which currently involves a research cohort of 5,300 men and women in Jackson, Mississippi, is a cooperative among the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson State University and Tougaloo College.

In response to Cochran, NIH Director Francis Collins stressed the importance of the Jackson Heart Study, noting that he considers it to be “a national resource” for research into cardiovascular disease among African Americans.

“That study has already taught us a great deal about what those environmental and genetic and social and behavioral risk factors are turning out to be, and those 5,300 individuals who have volunteered to take part in this effort, I think, are real national heroes by their willingness to do so,” Collins said. “We are continuing to look for ways to connect up that effort with other kinds of studies.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African Americans have a higher likelihood of being diagnosed with coronary heart disease, and are 30 percent more likely to die from heart disease. The Jackson Heart Study is the only NIH longitudinal cohort study completely focused on the African American community in order to address and correct this health disparity.

4/7/16