About Us

In 1971 the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), at the National Institutes of Health, awarded the Lipid Research Clinics Program (LRC) coordinating center to the UNC-Department of Biostatistics. Led by O. Dale Williams, PhD, as director, and C.E. Davis, PhD, as deputy director, the LRC was funded for 19 years, making it one of the longest running studies funded by the NIH. To reflect the addition of new studies being coordinated at the Center, in 1984 the LRC Coordinating Center changed its name to the Collaborative Studies Coordinating Center (CSCC). After Dr. Williams moved to Birmingham, Alabama in 1991, Dr. Davis led the Coordinating Center as Director until late in 1997 when he became the Chairman of the UNC Biostatistics Department in Chapel Hill.  Lloyd E. Chambless, PhD, then took over as the interim Director, and was named Director in 2000. Dr. Chambless stepped down in 2005 to devote more time to his active studies. Lisa M. LaVange, PhD, led the Center from 2005 to 2011. She departed to be a Director of the Office of Biostatistics in the Office of Translational Sciences at the FDA. In 2012, Sonia Davis, DrPH, came from Quintiles to direct the center for five years.  In 2017, Dr. Davis returned to pharmaceutical work at RTI. Beginning in 2018, the CSCC has returned to the leadership of Dr. Lisa LaVange. 

In its 47-year history, the CSCC has coordinated activities for over 40 large, multi-site clinical trials and epidemiology studies involving hundreds of clinical or field centers and hundreds of thousands of research subjects, and produced well over 1,000 research publications. The CSCC consists of approximately 100 faculty, staff, and students from the departments of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Nutrition, Medicine (Cardiology Division) and Social Medicine, and collaborates with co-investigators in numerous other departments, centers, and schools across the UNC campus. Currently, the CSCC has seven faculty members serving as PI on active projects.

The UNC CSCC has a distinguished history as a pioneer in clinical data management, implementing remote data entry on a national project in 1986 (the first NIH coordinating center to do so), followed by a web-based data management system in 2001. In 2010, the CSCC introduced its next generation data management system, CDART (Carolina Data Acquisition & Reporting Technology). It was created with help from the TraCS Institute, and was jointly funded by the CSCC and the UNC School of Medicine CTSA grant. CDART allows investigators anywhere real-time reporting, tracking, editing, and querying of data. In 2012, the Center transitioned several of its large studies from using the old system to CDART, and began developing the next version of the system.  Currently, all of the Center’s studies are supported on the CDART system.

CSCC projects span the clinical areas of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, chronic lung disease, nutrition and obesity, periodontal disease, kidney disease, mental health and child health. The longest running active CSCC project is the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study, begun in 1986 with continuing follow-up of a cohort of over 15,000 individuals. Another hallmark project is the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL), a prospective epidemiological study of 16,000 Hispanics living in the U.S. It is designed to evaluate the relationship between baseline risk factors such as acculturation, environmental exposures, diet, and exercise with health outcomes that include both cardiovascular and pulmonary endpoints for this fast-growing minority population. Most recently, the CSCC was awarded the coordinating center role for the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions (ATN), a large research program aiming to defeat the rising HIV epidemic among adolescents and young adults in the United States.  Details on these and other studies, past and present, can be found at the Projects tab on our home page.