Tell me more about the RURAL Cohort Study

The Risk Underlying Rural Areas Longitudinal (RURAL) Cohort is a health research project in ten rural counties throughout Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The study will help to better understand health and disease in these rural areas. The information gathered in this study will help build future health programs to improve the health of local people in your community, which may promote healthier lives.

What does a participant do?

Participants in the RURAL Study will receive information on different areas of their health, including their heart and lungs.

We will visit participants in their communities to complete a research exam about heart and lung health. To get started, we will first speak with participants over the phone or by computer for a baseline visit. After this visit, participants will receive a Fitbit device and a RURAL cell phone app that will be used to collect information about their health and lifestyle.

Participants will then attend an in-person exam at our mobile exam vehicle.


Enrollment in the RURAL Study is underway in Alabama. Participants must be residents of specific counties in Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi. To be eligible for the study, participants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be 25-64 years of age Speak English or Spanish
  • Have resided in the specific county for the past two years and plan to reside at the residence for the next two years
  • Not currently incarcerated or institutionalized
  • Not currently in hospice care and does not have terminal illness with less than 6 month life expectancy

How will participant information be used?

Participants will receive results from their research exam, which they can also share with their doctor. The RURAL Study team will refer participants to a health center if there are immediate health concerns found during the research exam.

The RURAL Study follows all HIPAA rules and regulations, in addition to the NIH and institutional guidelines, for the protection of all research participants. No information from the study that could identify a participant will be publicly shared.

Information collected

During the baseline visit, participants will answer surveys about their medical history, lifestyle, and other health-related factors. The baseline visit will take about 35 to 50 minutes.

After the baseline visit, we will track participants’ physical activity using the provided Fitbit device. We will also ask questions about overall health and lifestyle through the RURAL cell phone app. Participants will receive a kit to measure environmental and health factors in your home.

The visit in the mobile exam vehicle will take about 3 hours and will include:

  • Vital signs including height and weight
  • Blood draw
  • Interviews and surveys asking about lifestyle and health history
  • Tests related to heart, lung, and blood vessel health

Contact Information

If you have any questions or comments, please call us at 1-888-RURALST (1- 888-787-2578) or email us at