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Even while pursuing a degree in social work at Jackson State University Jackson State University, often abridged as Jackson State or by its initials JSU is a historically black university located in Jackson, Mississippi founded in 1877. , Pamela Smith is educating the public about the risk factors, preventative measures, and treatment of cardiovascular disease Cardiovascular disease
Disease that affects the heart and blood vessels.

Mentioned in: Lipoproteins Test

cardiovascular disease 
 as part of the school's participation in a community research project called the Jackson Heart Study.

The massive study is the largest investigation of heart disease to be undertaken in a completely African-American population. The single-site study in the Jackson metropolitan area is assessing the numerous threats that affect cardiovascular health, including lifestyle habits, cultural factors, genetics, and physical condition. Under the direction of principal investigator Noun 1. principal investigator - the scientist in charge of an experiment or research project
PI

scientist - a person with advanced knowledge of one or more sciences
 Herman Taylor, Jr. of JSU JSU Jacksonville State University
JSU Jackson State University (Jackson, MS, USA)
JSU Jewish Student Union
, study researchers also aim to determine the racial disparities left irresolute ir·res·o·lute  
adj.
1. Unsure of how to act or proceed; undecided.

2. Lacking in resolution; indecisive.



ir·res
 by previous cardiovascular studies. With funding recently extended to 2013, the researchers hope their findings will eventually point the way to better treatment for African-Americans with heart disease.

Smith works with the segment of the study's Coordinating Center, run by JSU, that is responsible for advocating health education and community involvement. Known as the Community Outreach Unit, the division aims to increase awareness of the heart study's goals and objectives among the African-American population.

"The Community Outreach Unit acts as a liaison between the community and the Jackson Heart Study," Smith says. "I go to different health fairs organized by the unit and talk to people about cardiovascular disease. We also have health educators from the office who recruit and train people to be health leaders ... to spread the message about the Jackson Heart Study and cardiovascular health in their communities."

Coordinating Center director Daniel Sarpong says the health education and promotional efforts organized by the Community Outreach Unit have helped to make the Jackson Heart Study a household name. "That is one of the most unique components of the study," Sarpong says. "We wanted that community involvement."

Alongside its community efforts, JSU's Coordinating Center is also responsible for managing and analyzing the vast volume of data collected. With facilities housed at the Jackson Medical Mall medical mall Business of medicine A free-standing unit that provides a “one-stop shopping” format for delivering health care MM examples Cardiac evaluation, imaging, outpatient surgery, rehabilitation therapy, pulmonary clinics, etc. See One-stop shopping. , center participants work with the study's two other local partners, Tougaloo College Tougaloo College is a private, co-educational, liberal arts institution of higher education founded in 1869, in Madison County, on the northern edge of Jackson, Mississippi, USA. Dr. Beverly Wade Hogan, the thirteenth and first female president, began her tenure in 2002.  and the University of Mississippi Medical Center University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMC) is the health sciences campus of the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). Located in Jackson, Mississippi (USA), it houses the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Health Related Professions, and Graduate Studies in the Health  (UMC UMC United Methodist Church
UMC United Microelectronics Corporation
UMC University Medical Center
UMC United Microelectronics Corp (Republic of China)
UMC University of Missouri-Columbia
), to complete the study's research aims. UMC runs the study's Examination Center and completes the recruitment, screening, and surveillance of participants. Tougaloo College offers courses in public health and epidemiology to students and health professionals through its Jackson Heart Study Undergraduate Training Center. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute,
n.pr established in 1948, this division of the National Institutes of Health is responsible for research and education on cardiovascular, pulmonary, systemic diseases, and sleep disorders.
 and the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities

Main article: Race and health


Health disparities (also called health inequalities in some countries) refer to gaps in the quality of health and health care across racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.
 are sponsoring the study.

Smith says housing data management and community education together at JSU's Coordinating Center has been beneficial to her advocacy efforts. "By seeing the raw data, I can see what the main concerns and daily practices of people are and better target my conversations," she says. "My participation in encoding the data has helped me to be better informed when I go out and talk to people about the Jackson Heart Study and its significance to cardiovascular disease."

JSU's role in the Jackson Heart Study has also provided a number of opportunities for students at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate levels to get involved. Many students studying public health use the Coordinating Center to complete their research projects or practice residencies, and students conducting health research often present their work to Jackson Heart Study staff members.

Smith says her involvement with the Community Outreach Unit has allowed her to see the intersection of social work and health issues. "The staff really acts as mentors to the students who come through," she says. "They get involved, and whatever research you're involved in, someone in the JSU family is there to guide you."

For more information, visit the Jackson Heart Study's website at www.jsums.edu/~jhs.
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Title Annotation:JACKSON HEART STUDY
Author:Voelkel, Megan
Publication:Mississippi Magazine
Date:Sep 1, 2005
Words:615
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