- By Dana Sparks
Have You Heard of the REP?
It's the medical resource behind discoveries that have affected patients around the globe, treasured by researchers and funded by the National Institutes of Health for nearly 50 years: the Rochester Epidemiology Project. This comprehensive medical records pool makes Olmsted County, Minn., one of the few places in the world where scientists can study virtually an entire geographic population to identify trends in disease, evaluate treatments and find factors that put people at risk for illness — or protect them.
The project has its origins in the earliest days of Mayo Clinic. Long before computers existed, Mayo archived patient medical records, believing they would someday prove valuable to researchers. Since it began, the REP has supported more than 2,000 studies and followed a half-million lives. Co-director Walter Rocca, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neurologist and epidemiologist says, "The Rochester Epidemiology Project is unique, especially because of its historical capability. We go back to 1966, and we can look at big chunks of histories of people's lives."
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B-Roll and sound bites with Dr. Rocca are available in the downloads above
Expert title for broadcast cg:
Dr. Walter Rocca, Mayo Clinic Epidemiologist & Neurologist