Cardiovascular Disease

someone getting their blood pressure

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for 1 in every 4 deaths. Continued efforts are needed to understand CVD risk factors and new avenues for prevention.

The School of Public Health Division of Epidemiology & Community Health focuses on CVD epidemiologic research, including observational studies and individual- and group-randomized trials. We are known around the globe for our work in CVD epidemiology, providing a strong evidence base regarding how to reduce the burden of CVD in our society. Our research projects evaluate behaviors that lead to CVD, novel genetic and non-genetic risk factors for CVD, and outcomes among patients with CVD.

Epidemiological and Proteomics Risk Factors for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Weihong Tang

Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), characterized by progressive and irreversible dilation of aortic wall in the abdomen, is associated with high mortality if rupture. Open surgery or endovascular repair are the only treatment option for AAA. This research investigates epidemiological risk factors for AAA in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study and proteomics risk markers for AAA in the ARIC, the Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT), and the Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS).


Collaborative Cohort of Cohorts for COVID-19 Research (C4R)
David Jacobs

C4R is a nationwide study of more than 50,000 individuals designed to understand how and
Why these participants are at varying risk of SARS-CoV-2 infections, as well as to
understand the acute and long-term health effects of COVID-19, including risk of
cardiovascular, respiratory, and thromboembolic events.


Determinants of Incident Stroke Cognitive Outcomes and Vascular Effects on RecoverY
Kamakshi Lakshminarayan

This landmark study in 8000 stroke survivors is investigating the mechanisms of post-stroke
cognitive impairment and dementia with a goal to develop potential targets for personalized
medicine and dramatically reduce the rates of cognitive and functional disability in high-risk
US populations.


Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Neurocognitive Study (ARIC-NCS)
Pamela Lutsey

This ARIC ancillary study evaluates midlife risk factors for late-life cognitive decline, dementia, brain imaging markers, and physical impairments.


Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study
Pamela Lutsey

ARIC is a large-scale, long-term cohort study that measures associations of established and suspected CVD risk factors with both atherosclerosis and new CVD events — such as myocardial infarction and stroke — in men and women from four diverse communities. Read more about ARIC


Epidemiology of Venous Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism (LITE)
Weihong Tang

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is an understudied cause of morbidity and mortality. This project investigates risk factors for VTE in two carefully conducted prospective epidemiologic studies of African American and white adults: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study and the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS).


Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)
Jim Pankow

This multicenter prospective cohort studies subclinical CVD in multiple racial/ethnic groups and its progression to clinical disease. Read more about MESA


Testing a Community Intervention to Increase Aspirin Use
Russell Luepker

This project evaluates the use of a health systems intervention, against a background of a mass media campaign, designed to improve the appropriate use of aspirin for the prevention of heart attack and stroke in a high-risk adult population. Using the population of the state of Minnesota as a base, it is developing methods to improve appropriate aspirin use at the community level.


Contemporary Venous Thromboembolism Treatment
Pamela Lutsey

This research is using administrative claims data (e.g. MarketScan, Optum) to compare the effectiveness of new versus traditional strategies for the treatment of VTE. Example treatment strategies are inpatient versus outpatient management for acute VTE, and direct oral anticoagulants versus warfarin for primary treatment and secondary prevention.


Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA)
Pamela Schreiner

The CARDIA study is a multicenter prospective study of cardiovascular risk factor and disease evolution from young adulthood in the mid-1980s to the present.


Cardiovascular Outcomes Associated with Substance Use
Faye Norby

Drug use and drug overdose deaths are at unprecedented levels in the United States, and the epidemiology of drug-related outcomes is changing rapidly. This research examines the epidemiology of sudden cardiac arrest and cardiovascular outcomes associated with drug use. The overall goal is to improve the prevention of adverse acute and long-term outcomes in people who use substances.

Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias: A Population-Based Approach to Identify Characteristics and Risk Factors

Sanaz Sedaghat

In this project data from five large population-based studies are being pooled and rigorously harmonized to create a cohort with a sizable number of early onset dementia events. The goal of this project is to refine estimates of early onset dementia and identify cardiovascular risk factors associated with the development of this disorder.

Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology & Prevention Research Fellowships
This program is intended to prepare fellows for research careers in cardiovascular disease epidemiology and prevention. Fellows will be involved in ongoing studies having existing databases and will also initiate research, including data collection and analysis, on their own. Trainees complete one or more projects for which they bear primary responsibility

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