The Southern Community Cohort Study



Key features of the established SCCS cohort

Research opportunities

SCCS Questionnaires


The Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS) is a unique ongoing prospective investigation tracking a population of more than 86,000 adults, two-thirds African American, recruited in 12 southern states to investigate various chronic disease outcomes.  Most of the participants in the SCCS were identified from community health centers, institutions providing primary health and preventative services mainly to the medically uninsured, so that the cohort is made up of a segment of society (minority, poor, rural) seldom included in sizeable numbers in previous cohort studies.  The major goal of the SCCS is the elucidation of the determinants of cancer and other chronic diseases with special focus on the reasons for the higher incidence and mortality rates of many chronic illnesses among African Americans.  Information which has been and will continue to be produced from the SCCS will be of critical value in advancing understanding of the causes of the major health problems experienced by the American people, regardless of race, and in the eventual mitigation of health disparities.   

The establishment of the cohort and its follow-up have been enabled by R01 grant funding provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to Vanderbilt University and its collaborating institutions.  The SCCS is a chronic disease resource, however, and can be utilized to explore determinants of various health outcomes.  The cohort provides novel opportunities for additional research using the existing investment to take full advantage of the study’s unique capabilities.


·        Assembly of one of the largest cohorts ever for assessing health behaviors and risk factors among African American men and women

·        Large study size (>86,000 adults), drawn from poor and rural segments of society seldom previously included in health research

·        Availability of stored biologic specimens from which DNA can be extracted for ~90% of SCCS participants

·        Blood samples collected and stored for over 39,000 participants; urine samples for over 23,000

·        Inclusion of both blacks and whites of generally similar socioeconomic status, enabling internally valid racial comparisons and quantification of disparities

·        Collection of extensive baseline information, mainly via in-person interviews, providing characteristics of the participants with respect to education, income, occupation, tobacco and alcohol use, diet and nutrition, physical activity, anthropometrics, various prevalent medical conditions, medication use, family history, psychosocial factors, health service utilization and other attributes

·        High prevalences of numerous health conditions among cohort members, including obesity in over 40% and diabetes in 20%, enabling assessment of potentially interactive effects of comorbidities  

·        Routine follow up to ascertain and update mortality, cancer incidence and, for some residents of the cohort, hospitalizations and physician encounters via linkage with national and state registries

·        Periodic direct re-contact with study participants enabling the updating of exposure information


Research opportunities utilizing the SCCS cohort abound.  The cohort provides a unique resource for new investigations studying determinants of the higher rates and poorer outcomes not just of cancer but also of various other chronic diseases among African Americans, and for determining contributors to health disparities.  SCCS data are available to qualified researchers for approved scientific uses.  To learn more about the process of requesting access to the SCCS resource for data analyses or ancillary studies, or to submit an application, please click here.

Applications for access to SCCS data, biospecimens, and ancillary studies are reviewed monthly by the SCCS Data and Biospecimen Use Committee and must be submitted by the deadlines listed below:

Meeting Date

Submission Deadline
(5:00 p.m. Central Time)

June 2, 2015 May 19, 2015
July 7, 2015 June 23, 2015
August 4, 2015 July 21, 2015
September 1, 2015 August 18, 2015
October 6, 2015 September 22, 2015
November 3, 2015 October 20, 2015
December 1, 2015 November 17, 2015


The SCCS study team (William Blot, PhD, reachable by e-mail at, and colleagues at Vanderbilt, the Meharry Medical College and the International Epidemiology Institute) welcomes inquiries and interest in collaborations to help fully utilize this national resource.


At study enrollment, most (>85%) SCCS Participants completed an in-person computer assisted interview.  The remainder completed a self-administered survey (see "Baseline Questionnaire" below), which is a close approximation of the interview.

SCCS Follow-up Questionnaires, see below, are either telephone- or self-administered.

Baseline Questionnaire
Female Follow-Up Questionnaire
Male Follow-Up Questionnaire

Baseline Questionnaire

Female First Follow-Up

Male First Follow-Up



Cancer Patient Questionnaire
Female Second Follow-Up Questionnaire
Male Second Follow-Up Questionnaire
Cancer Patient

Female Second Follow-Up

Male Second Follow-Up





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