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Division of Prevention and Population Sciences (DPPS)


The Division of Prevention and Population Sciences supports and provides leadership for population- and clinic-based research on the causes, prevention, and clinical care of cardiovascular, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders. Research includes a broad array of epidemiological studies to describe disease and risk factor patterns in populations and to identify risk factors for disease; clinical trials of interventions to prevent disease; studies of genetic, behavioral, sociocultural, and environmental influences on disease risk and outcomes; and studies of the application of prevention and treatment strategies to determine how to improve clinical care and public health. The Division also supports training and career development for these areas of research. The Division is organized into four major components: the Epidemiology Branch, the Clinical Applications and Prevention Branch, the Women's Health Initiative Branch, and the Office of Biostatistics Research.


The DPPS Strategic Plan uses the NHLBI Strategic Plan as its framework, and reflects DPPS programs in each of the major three goal areas, "form to function" (Goal 1), "function to causes" (Goal 2), and "causes to cures" (Goal 3). Specific programs, either ongoing or planned, and possible future research areas are provided within each Goal and under specific Challenges. The DPPS Strategic Plan will be regularly reviewed and revised to reflect changing programs and directions.


The Clinical Applications and Prevention Branch supports, designs, and conducts research and supports training on behavioral, environmental, clinical, and healthcare approaches to reduce occurrence and consequences of cardiovascular diseases. Prevention research examines effects of interventions to slow or halt risk factor or disease development or progression; interventions use high-risk individual and population approaches, including medications, behavioral strategies, and environmental change. Studies examine lifestyle, nutrition and exercise, psychological and sociocultural factors, and environmental and genetic influences relevant to prevention. Clinical application research examines approaches to improve healthcare delivery and patient outcomes. Studies include clinical and community trials and selected observational studies.

Lawrence J. Fine, M.D., Branch Chief


The Epidemiology Branch supports, designs, and conducts research and supports training in the epidemiology of cardiovascular, lung, blood, and sleep diseases and disorders. Studies are conducted to identify temporal trends and population patterns in the prevalence, incidence, morbidity, and mortality from these diseases and include single- and multi-center observational epidemiology studies of the development, progression, and treatment of cardiovascular, lung, blood, and sleep diseases and disorders. Studies identify environmental, lifestyle, physiological, and genetic risk factors for disease and risk factor development, including characterization of gene/gene and gene/environment interactions. The Branch also distributes data from all eligible NHLBI studies to researchers as a national data resource, adhering to guidelines that protect participant privacy and confidentiality.

Paul D. Sorlie, Ph.D., Branch Chief


The Women's Health Initiative Branch supports clinical trials and observational studies to improve understanding of the causes and prevention of major diseases affecting the health of women. Current studies focus on cardiovascular disease, cancer, and fractures, in collaboration with NCI, NIAMS, NIA, NINDS, and ORWH. The large multi-center observational epidemiology studies seek to identify risk markers for disease or better quantify known markers using questionnaire, clinical examination, and laboratory data. The large and long-term multi-center clinical trials test promising but unproven interventions such as hormone therapy, diet, and supplements to prevent major diseases and evaluate overall effects on health. The Branch has established an infrastructure to support the utilization of data and blood samples from the studies by the scientific community.

Jacques E. Rossouw, M.D., Branch Chief


The Office of Biostatistics Research (OBR) provides statistical expertise to members of all Divisions of the NHLBI and performs diverse functions in planning, designing, implementing and analyzing NHLBI-sponsored studies. The OBR has primary responsibility for providing objective, statistically sound, and medically relevant solutions to problems. When presented with a problem for which techniques are not yet available, the OBR is expected to provide a new and valid statistical solution. The OBR is concerned with designing efficient studies and monitoring data while studies are ongoing. All members of the professional staff have interests in statistical methodology relevant to clinical research studies. The OBR's methodological interest concern survival analysis, longitudinal data analysis, and efficient study designs, including the monitoring of ongoing clinical studies for efficacy and safety. Recently the OBR has made contributions to statistical genetics and has extended its expertise to bioinformatics.

Nancy L. Geller, Ph.D., Director

For further information contact:
Division of Prevention and Population Sciences
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
National Institutes of Health
Two Rockledge Center, Suite 10018
6701 Rockledge Dr. MSC 7936
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-7936
(301) 435-0422

Additional phone numbers are available in the Abbreviated Staff Directory.

October 2006

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