Channing Chronic Disease Epidemiology (CDE) Cohorts

Epidemiology has been at the heart of Channing since it was founded over 50 years ago; it is critical for all Channing units and is central to the Chronic Disease Epidemiology Unit (CDE) at the Channing Division of Network Medicine (CDNM).

CDE Cohorts

Nurses’ Health Study

CDNM is home to the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS), founded by Frank Speizer. In 1976, 121,700 female registered nurses, aged 30-55, enrolled in the study by completing a mailed questionnaire. Since then, participants have been followed through repeated questionnaires sent every two years. We also have collected toenail samples, and two rounds of blood samples from the cohort. The response rate exceeds 90%. NHS is currently led by Drs. Francine Grodstein, Rulla Tamimi, and Meir Stampfer.

Health Professionals Follow-up Study

Using the same design, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS), was founded by Walter Willett in 1986, with the enrollment of 51,529 male health professionals. We also collected toenail blood samples from HPFS participants. The cohort is based in the Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, but with very close ties to CDNM; HPFS is currently led by Drs. Walter Willett and Lorelei Mucci.

Nurses’ Health Study II

A third large cohort, NHS II, enrolled 116,800 female registered nurses in 1989, followed in the same manner as NHS, and includes biospecimen collection. We currently are collecting 20,000 stool samples from NHS II participants. The study is led by Drs. Walter Willett (founding PI) and Heather Eliassen.

Growing Up Today Study and Nurses’ Health Study 3

Two other cohorts were started more recently and are internet based: Growing Up Today Study (1996, n= 27,605), whose participants were offspring of NHS II participants (led by Rulla Tamimi), and Nurses’ Health Study 3, a dynamic cohort started in 2010, led by Drs. Jorge Chavarro, Francine Laden, and JoAnn Manson, with current enrollment of 45,000. More details, including all the questionnaires and details of the biospecimens are available on the Nurses’ Health Study website.

Exposures and outcomes

We have collected an enormous volume of questionnaire data; a hallmark has been repeated collections of highly validated dietary data. No other cohorts have this wealth of repeated dietary data. We also collected repeated information on smoking, physical activity, medication use, psycho-social variables, and many more. We follow participants for a large array of outcomes including mortality, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, neurologic diseases, and many more.