The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, announced today that Adolfo Correa, M.D., Ph.D., director and principal investigator of the Jackson Heart Study (JHS), has decided to retire and step down from his leadership of the study in December 2020.
Recruited to be the study’s Chief Science Officer in 2011, Correa became interim director and a principal investigator in 2013, and JHS director in 2016. Under his leadership, the study has increased scientific productivity, as attested by numerous publications of research findings in internationally regarded journals.
Launched in 1998, the JHS is the largest research study in history to investigate the biological, genetic, and environmental risk factors associated with the disproportionate burden of cardiovascular disease in African Americans. Jointly funded by the NHLBI and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, this longitudinal cohort study follows the health of about 5,300 African Americans in the Jackson, Mississippi, metropolitan area. Like many other communities in the Southeastern United States, Jackson has high rates of death and disability from cardiovascular disease.
Last year, the NHLBI awarded new contracts for the study’s 2018-2024 phase to the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson State University, Tougaloo College, and the Mississippi State Department of Health.
In the coming months, representatives from the JHS-funded institutions and the Jackson community will form a committee and work with an outside firm to conduct a nationwide search for a new director. After a collaborative, cohesive search process, the committee plans to announce its choice of a new director in August 2020, allowing time for a smooth leadership transition.
The ideal candidate for Jackson Heart Study director will be someone with the scientific expertise needed to run a large, population-level study, a history of collaborative research across multiple institutions, and the ability to engage community members in the study.
The study includes community education and outreach activities to promote healthy lifestyles and lower the risks of chronic disease. It also conducts college and graduate-level trainings as well as high school science and math enrichment programs to prepare and encourage underrepresented minority students to pursue biomedical careers.