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Who we are
The Johns Hopkins Washington County Field Center is one of four field centers participating in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. Our investigators and staff have worked in partnership with the ARIC study participants since 1986 with the goal of providing new knowledge to form a basis for improved disease prevention. The current principal investigator and project coordinator are Dr. Josef Coresh and Ms. Patricia Crowley.
Where can you find us?
We are located at the Johns Hopkins University, 1100 Dual Highway, Suite A, Hagerstown. Hagerstown is a town of approximately 39,890 people and is located within Washington County in Western Maryland, about 70 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. Washington County is a semi-rural area in the Cumberland Valley, bounded by mountains on the West and East, the Potomac River to the South, and the Mason-Dixon Line to the North.
History of the ARIC Study
The ARIC Study began recruiting participants for the baseline visit in 1986. We continued to recruit participants for the next three years and completed baseline recruitment in December 1989. The original number of participants enrolled in this field center of the ARIC Study totaled 4,020, and was made up of men and women who lived in Washington County and were between the ages of 45 through 64 at the time of their recruitment into the study. Participants were examined every three years in the field center until December 1999 and contacted by telephone once every year. Telephone contact is still continuing at the present time.
The Washington County ARIC Field Center has been fortunate to have had knowledge and guidance over the years from many respected Investigators. They include: George Comstock, M.D., M.P.H., Moyses Szklo, M.D., Dr. P.H., F. Javier Nieto, M.D., Dr. P.H., Fred Brancati, M.D., and the current Principal Investigator, Josef Coresh, M.D., Ph.D.
Management of the Field Center has been provided by two Project Coordinators, Joel G. Hill, M.S., from 1986 until 1998 and Patricia M. Crowley, M.S., 1998 to the present time.
Response to the ARIC Study in the community has been very positive, as evidenced by the extremely high retention rates and positive feedback given by the participants. The citizens of Washington County have a long-standing history of participating in public health research and they have continued to put forth a stellar effort in their contribution to the ARIC Study over the years.
Together with other centers, the ARIC investigative team has published over 400 scientific articles and ARIC data are considered the authority on heart disease trends in the United States.
Future Directions
As the ARIC cohort ages, we hope to continue our partnership to study diseases and reasons for decreased functional and cognitive status in older adults. The partnership relies on integrating state of the art methods and innovations to understand disease in its earliest stages and search for strategies to prevent its progress.
The research process is long and discoveries often don’t provide benefit for participants. However, we sincerely believe that our long-term partnership improves disease prevention and treatment in the coming decades. Demonstrating the importance of cholesterol and blood pressure for heart disease has relied strongly on epidemiologic studies such as ARIC and Framingham which later lead to therapies which can lower the risk of heart disease by more than 50%.