Health Professionals Follow-Up Study
The Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS) began in 1986. The purpose of the study is to evaluate a series of hypotheses about men’s health relating nutritional factors to the incidence of serious illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease, and other vascular diseases. This all-male study is designed to complement the all-female Nurses’ Health Study, which examines similar hypotheses.
Nurses’ Health Studies (NHS)
The Nurses’ Health Studies (NHS) are among the largest prospective investigations into the risk factors for major chronic diseases in women. Starting with the original Nurses’ Health Study in 1976, the studies are now in their third generation with Nurses’ Health Study 3 (which is still enrolling male and female nurses) and count more than 275,000 participants. Due to their unique strengths, including regular follow-up of study participants since 1976 and repeated assessment of health and lifestyle factors, the studies have played an instrumental role in shaping public health recommendations.
Puerto Rico Observational Study of Psychosocial, Environmental, and Chronic Disease Trends (PROSPECT)
Puerto Ricans have high, unexplained rates of factors that increase their risk of cardiovascular disease and related diseases. A team of researchers from Puerto Rico and the US aim to study those factors, and in 2019, they launched PROSPECT: The Puerto Rico Observational Study of Psychosocial, Environmental, and Chronic disease Trends.
PROSPECT is the largest investigation to ever be conducted in Puerto Rico that examines the different health determinants (chronic diseases, diet, social and emotional situations, lifestyle) that contribute to the overall health conditions of Puerto Ricans. The results of the study will help design public policy related to health, and will inform health programs in Puerto Rico based on the needs of Puerto Ricans.
Research Initiatives and Centers
Neuroepidemiology Research Group
The Neuroepidemiology Research Group is a team of scientists collaborating in the epidemiological investigation of multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease (PD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neurological diseases. We are based at HSPH, with collaborators at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and other institutions both in the U.S. and abroad.
Our primary research involves the application of epidemiological methods to identify causal risk factors for neurological diseases, and our focus is on the conduction of large prospective investigations into the effects of nutrition, environment, and infectious agents on neurological disease risk, as well as the identification of biomarkers and genetic determinants of neurological disease susceptibility. We have been actively working in these areas since 1997, when the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke funded the documentation of MS and PD among participants in the Nurses’ Health Studies and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.
Our research has now been extended to multiple additional cohorts, both nationally and internationally. Collectively, these studies constitute a unique resource comprising millions of individuals that we hope will contribute to the discovery of new approaches to the prevention and treatment of these neurological diseases.
Nutritional Biomarker Lab
Provides reliable lab analysis services to researchers within the Harvard community and beyond, specializing in the analysis of antioxidants, vitamins, and fatty acids profile in foods and human samples, as well as the adoption and development of custom assays as requested by our clients. Additional services include analysis of blood lipids and lipoproteins, including novel HDL subspecies that are newly emerging as important risk factors in many diseases.
Thich Nhat Hanh Center for Mindfulness in Public Health
<a href=”https://www.mindfulpublichealth.org/”><img class=”alignright wp-image-2989 size-medium” src=”https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutrition/wp-content/uploads/sites/65/2023/04/TNH-Announcement_1200x800-300×200.jpg” alt=”Thich Nhat Hanh Center for Mindfulness in Public Health logo” width=”300″ height=”200″ /></a>The <a href=”https://www.mindfulpublichealth.org/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Thich Nhat Hanh Center for Mindfulness in Public Health</a> empowers people around the globe to live with purpose, equanimity, and joy through the practice of mindfulness. The Center will actively pursue evidence-based approaches to improving health and well-being through mindfulness, undertaking rigorous scientific inquiry to identify best practices and evaluate potential benefits.</p>
<p>The Center will also engage with Harvard University and the public to share findings, providing resources to help individuals of every background practice mindfulness in their daily lives, including mindful eating, to protect both their health and the health of the planet.</p>
<p>By pursuing these dual tracks of academic research and public engagement, the Center aims to improve public health and inspire global action.</p>
<li><a href=”https://www.mindfulpublichealth.org/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>https://www.mindfulpublichealth.org/</a></li>
Evidence-Based Tools and Resources
The Nutrition Source
The Nutrition Source is a leading authority on food and nutrition knowledge, providing science-based guidance for healthy living. The website offers comprehensive nutrition information through timely articles and FAQ’s, while recipes and tools, including The Healthy Eating Plate, facilitate the translation of food and nutrition knowledge into daily practice. With the media culture full of confusing nutrition misinformation, clinicians, health professionals, journalists, and the general public can rely and trust The Nutrition Source’s independent, clear, and unbiased content—free from industry influence or support.
The Obesity Prevention Source
Obesity is a defining issue of our time, and The Obesity Prevention Source aims to inform and empower the public and policymakers to tackle the issue head on by covering in detail obesity’s global causes, consequences, prevention, and control, so that healthy lifestyle environmental changes can become a reality, allowing all people to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Asian Diabetes Prevention Initiative
The Asian Diabetes Prevention Initiative (ADPI) aims to create and spread an effective public health message that can counter the rising rates of diabetes among Asian populations. The site includes the latest research and strategies for Asians on how to monitor risk of diabetes and prevent the disease by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. It is a joint collaboration between the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Department of Nutrition and the National University of Singapore, Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health.
Past Initiatives and Collaborations
EVERGREEN: The Evidence-Based Research Group to Evaluate Nutrition Policy
Led by Dr. Rimm and Dr. Bleich, EVERGREEN: The Evidence-Based Research Group to Evaluate Nutrition Policy assessed U.S. nutrition policies and programs, innovative nutrition policy research, and effective community-level interventions to improve access to fresh, healthy foods.
Global Nutrition and Epidemiologic Transition Initiative (GNET)
The Global Nutrition & Epidemiologic Transition Initiative (GNET) was a collaborative launched by researchers from the Departments of Epidemiology and Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, with the ultimate goal of helping to prevent the global diabetes epidemic by improving the carbohydrate quality of staple foods. Pilot projects in a number of countries not only assessed the effect of substituting whole grain alternatives for refined carbohydrate staples on intermediate markers of diabetes risk, but also assessed the cultural acceptability and feasibility of these interventions in local communities. The GNET team plans to use results from the pilot studies to design larger studies that can test whether whole grain dietary modifications can have a long-lasting, measurable impact.
The Harvard Chan School of Public Health-St. Johns Research Institute sought to further develop and strengthen collaboration between Harvard Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) in the US and St. John’s Research Institute (SJRI) in India. Activities contributing to the establishment of sustainable public health research and education capacity in India included: mutually beneficial exchanges of faculty and students between Bangalore and Boston, the expansion of an existing and very successful short course in nutrition research methods (the Bangalore-Boston Nutrition Collaborative), co-taught by SJRI, HSPH and Tufts faculty, the development of new nutrition epidemiology courses by SJRI and HSPH faculty, and the expansion of access to a website for distance learning via edX initiative.
The three-year Initiative was led by an Executive Committee of senior HSPH and SJRI faculty members – Christopher Duggan, Wafaie Fawzi, SV Subramanian (HSPH) and Rebecca Kuriyan-Raj, Anura Kurpad and Tinku Thomas (SJRI).