The George W. Comstock Center for Public Health Research and Prevention is part of Johns Hopkins University located in Hagerstown, Maryland. The Center is directed by Dr. Josef Coresh, MD,PhD with a staff of 30 run by Director of Operations, Melissa Minotti, MPH, RPSGT, CCRC.
The Center has a rich history of collaborative and innovative studies. One of their flagship studies is the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) which is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and conducted in four U.S. communities including Washington County, Maryland. The Comstock Center began recruiting for ARIC in November 1986. At the time, they recruited 4,020 participants between the ages of 45 and 64 who were in generally good health and lived within the geographic region. Today these participants, many of them in their 90’s, are still coming to the Comstock Center for their study visit sessions.
Retaining 4,000 study participants for over 30 years is no small feat. In fact, the team was just getting by using multiple spreadsheets, reports and disparate databases that were managed locally and by their coordinating center (UNC-Chapel Hill). One of the defining factors of the ARIC cohort at Comstock is the number of ancillary studies that come out of each wave of data collection, which has been upwards of seven additional studies.