Jackson Heart Study returns in-person at Medical Mall

Focused On Health

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Jackson Heart Study team has began in-person visits for Exam 4. Originally planned to start in March 2020, this is the first time since 2013 that the study has brought its volunteer participants back for a full look at the health.

The Jackson Heart Study is the largest study of cardiovascular health and disease in African American adults. Established in 1998, it is a collaboration between University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), Jackson State University (JSU), Tougaloo College, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH), and about 5,300 participants from Hinds, Madison and Rankin counties.

During Exam 4, Jackson Heart Study participants complete an informed consent process and questionnaires on family and medical history, food intake and brain health. The physical, “high-touch” procedures include height, weight, blood pressure and waist circumference measurements, as well as blood and urine samples. Patients also receive an echocardiogram and electrocardiogram, which look at heart function.

Dr. Karen Winters, the director of Jackson Heart Study Field Center, manages the exam visits at the Jackson Medical Mall.

“For now, the Exam Center will only be seeing one participant per day. As we hire more staff, we plan to bring up to five people to the clinic daily,” said Winters, also a professor of nursing at UMMC. “Our goal is to finish the exams by April 2023.”

Winters estimates that about 3,400 of the original JHS participants recruited for Exam 1 – completed between 2000 and 2004 – are still alive today. She and her team expect to bring back about 2,000 of them for this next phase.

Because the JHS participants are now middle-aged or older, Exam 4 includes new assessments related to aging, such as gait, grip strength and memory and cognition.

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