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National Institute on Aging
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Clinical Research Branch
Michele K. Evans, M.D.
Chief, Health Disparities Research Section

The Health Disparities Research Section has the primary objective to create a new representative longitudinal study of health status across the lifespan focused on investigating the differential influences of race and socioeconomic status on health in an urban population. This has led to the development of the Healthy Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity across the Life Span (HANDLS) Study, a community-based research effort designed to focus on evaluating health disparities in socioeconomically diverse African-Americans and whites in Baltimore. This study is unique because it is a multidisciplinary project that will not only assess physical parameters but also evaluate genetic, demographic, psychosocial and psychophysiological parameters over a 20-year period. It will also employ novel research tools, mobile medical research vehicles to improve participation rates and retention among non-traditional research participants. Wave 1 of HANDLS pilot phase was successful in addressing its primary goal, assessing the feasibility of conducting a community-based study using a mobile medical research vehicle. The first wave of the pilot allowed refinement of the logistical requirements for the conduct of clinical research focused on several scientific and clinical domains among a low socioeconomic sample. Wave 2 of the pilot phase, currently being conducted in the same West Baltimore neighborhood, will permit further logistical assessments of the mobile medical research vehicle (MRV I) and the newly procured mobile medical research vehicle II (MRV II), evaluation of retention strategies for non-traditional research participants, conduct a 3-year interim follow-up on participants to verify and expand on findings from wave 1 of the pilot, and evaluation of new questionnaires and physical assessments to be used in the upcoming epidemiological study. The epidemiologic phase of the study will commence in early 2004 once the research and development contract for the household listing/population sampling and recruitment is awarded.
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Updated: Saturday October 20, 2012