The REGARDS-Sepsis study will identify individual and community-level risk factors for sepsis, as well as strategies to prevent sepsis and reduce its high mortality. Emergency Medicine and Public Health researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) are conducting this 5-year study which is supported by a grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is a dangerous syndrome of systemic inflammation triggered by serious infections such as pneumonia, kidney infection, cellulitis and meningitis, among others. Sepsis may injure vital organs, resulting in shock and death. Sepsis is a major threat to the health of US communities, resulting in 570,000 emergency department visits, 750,000 hospitalizations and 215,000 deaths in the US annually— more than from acute myocardial infarction, lung cancer or breast cancer. As depicted below, a “belt” of excess sepsis mortality exists in the Southeastern US.

What is the REGARDS Study?

The NIH-funded REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study is one of the largest ongoing national cohort studies of community-dwelling individuals in the US. Encompassing representation from all regions of the continental US, the REGARDS study includes 30,000+ individuals >45 years from across the nation. The purpose of the REGARDS project is to understand why people in some parts of the country develop more strokes than people in other parts of the country, and why blacks develop more strokes than whites.

Please visit for more information about the REGARDS study.

What is the REGARDS-Sepsis Study?

Current clinical initiatives focus on the acute resuscitation and care of individuals suffering from sepsis. However, very little information exist to identify the individuals most vulnerable to this life-threatening condition. The REGARDS-Sepsis study will address this knowledge gap by determining the clinical and sociodemographic risk factors for sepsis onset and death in the REGARDS cohort.

Grant Support:

NIH-NINR R01 NR012726 (REGARDS-Sepsis Study)

NIH-NINDS U01 NS041588 (Parent REGARDS Study)

UAB Lister Hill Center for Health Policy Intramural Pilot Grant

UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences Intramural Pilot Grant

UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences (NIH-NCCR & NCTAS UL1TR000165)

REGARDS-Sepsis Principal Investigator

Henry E. Wang MD, MS, MPH, Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Emergency Medicine, UAB School of Medicine

REGARDS-Sepsis Co-investigators

George Howard, DrPH, Professor and Chair, Department of Biostatistics, UAB School of Public Health

Monika M. Safford, MD Professor and Chief, Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College

Russell L. Griffin, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, UAB School of Public Health

Nathan I. Shapiro, MD, MPH, Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Research, Department of Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School

UAB Department of Emergency Medicine Core Staff

  • Joel Rodgers, MA, Project Director
  • Jordan Morgan, MPH, Program Coordinator


UAB Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive Medicine

  • David Rhodes, MPH, Director of Operations (REGARDS Study)


Contact Information

Mailing Address: University of Alabama School of Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine 619 19th Street South, OHB 251 Birmingham, AL 35249
Telephone: 205.996.7386
Fax: 205.975.5053
Email: or

REGARDS-Sepsis and Related Publications:

  • Moore JX, Donnelly JP, Griffin R, Howard G, Safford MM, Wang HE. Defining Sepsis Mortality Clusters in the United States. Crit Care Med. 2016 Apr 21. [Epubahead of print] PubMed PMID: 27105174.
  • Wang HE, Donnelly JP, Griffin R, Levitan EB, Shapiro NI, Howard G, Safford MM. Derivation of Novel Risk Prediction Scores for Community-Acquired Sepsis and Severe Sepsis. Crit Care Med. 2016 Mar 30. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID:27031381.
  • Moore JX, Donnelly JP, Griffin R, Safford MM, Howard G, Baddley J, Wang HE.Black-white racial disparities in sepsis: a prospective analysis of the REasonsfor Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) cohort. Crit Care. 2015Jul 10;19:279. doi: 10.1186/s13054-015-0992-8. PubMed PMID: 26159891; PubMedCentral PMCID: PMC4498511.
  • Page DB, Donnelly JP, Wang HE. Community-, Healthcare-, and Hospital-Acquired Severe Sepsis Hospitalizations in the University HealthSystem Consortium. CritCare Med. 2015 Sep;43(9):1945-51. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000001164. PubMed PMID:26110490; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4537676.
  • Donnelly JP, Hohmann SF, Wang HE. Unplanned Readmissions After Hospitalization for Severe Sepsis at Academic Medical Center-Affiliated Hospitals. Crit Care Med.2015 Sep;43(9):1916-27. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000001147. PubMed PMID: 26082977;PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4537666.
  • Gutiérrez OM, Judd SE, Voeks JH, Carson AP, Safford MM, Shikany JM, Wang HE.Diet patterns and risk of sepsis in community-dwelling adults: a cohort study.BMC Infect Dis. 2015 Jun 14;15:231. doi: 10.1186/s12879-015-0981-1. PubMed PMID: 26072206; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4465736.
  • Powell TC, Donnelly JP, Gutiérrez OM, Griffin RL, Safford MM, Wang HE.Cystatin C and long term risk of community-acquired sepsis: a population-basedcohort study. BMC Nephrol. 2015 Apr 23;16:61. doi: 10.1186/s12882-015-0055-z.PubMed PMID: 25903849; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4413986.
  • Wang HE, Addis DR, Donnelly JP, Shapiro NI, Griffin RL, Safford MM, BaddleyJW. Discharge diagnoses versus medical record review in the identification ofcommunity-acquired sepsis. Crit Care. 2015 Feb 16;19:42. doi:10.1186/s13054-015-0771-6. PubMed PMID: 25879803; PubMed Central PMCID:PMC4340494.
  • Ojard C, Donnelly JP, Safford MM, Griffin R, Wang HE. Psychosocial stress as a risk factor for sepsis: a population-based cohort study. Psychosom Med. 2015Jan;77(1):93-100. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000120. PubMed PMID: 25469683;PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4293326.
  • Wang HE, Griffin R, Shapiro NI, Howard G, Safford MM. Chronic Statin Use and Long-Term Rates of Sepsis: A Population-Based Cohort Study. J Intensive Care Med.2014 Sep 15. pii: 0885066614550280. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25223827.
  • Powell TC, Powell SL, Allen BK, Griffin RL, Warnock DG, Wang HE. Association of inflammatory and endothelial cell activation biomarkers with acute kidneyinjury after sepsis. Springerplus. 2014 Apr 28;3:207. doi:10.1186/2193-1801-3-207. eCollection 2014. PubMed PMID: 24826374; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4018475.
  • Wang HE, Donnelly JP, Shapiro NI, Hohmann SF, Levitan EB. Hospital variations in severe sepsis mortality. Am J Med Qual. 2015 Jul-Aug;30(4):328-36. doi:10.1177/1062860614534461. Epub 2014 May 9. PubMed PMID: 24814940.
  • Wang HE, Baddley J, Griffin RL, Judd S, Howard G, Donnelly JP, Safford MM. Physical inactivity and long-term rates of community-acquired sepsis. Prev Med.2014 Aug;65:58-64. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.04.017. Epub 2014 Apr 24. PubMed PMID: 24768917; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4101049.
  • Nguyen SQ, Mwakalindile E, Booth JS, Hogan V, Morgan J, Prickett CT, Donnelly JP, Wang HE. Automated electronic medical record sepsis detection in the emergency department. PeerJ. 2014 Apr 10;2:e343. doi: 10.7717/peerj.343.eCollection 2014. PubMed PMID: 24765577; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3994640.
  • Wang HE, Szychowski JM, Griffin R, Safford MM, Shapiro NI, Howard G. Long-term mortality after community-acquired sepsis: a longitudinal population-based cohort study. BMJ Open. 2014 Jan 17;4(1):e004283. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-004283. PubMed PMID: 24441058; PubMed Central PMCID:PMC3902401.
  • Wang HE, Shapiro NI, Safford MM, Griffin R, Judd S, Rodgers JB, Warnock DG, Cushman M, Howard G. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein and risk of sepsis. PLoSOne. 2013 Jul 23;8(7):e69232. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069232. Print 2013.PubMed PMID: 23935961; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3720576.
  • Singhal S, Allen MW, McAnnally JR, Smith KS, Donnelly JP, Wang HE. National estimates of emergency department visits for pediatric severe sepsis in theUnited States. PeerJ. 2013 May 21;1:e79. doi: 10.7717/peerj.79. Print 2013.PubMed PMID: 23717801; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3661074.
  • Wang HE, Griffin R, Judd S, Shapiro NI, Safford MM. Obesity and risk of sepsis: a population-based cohort study. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013Dec;21(12):E762-9. doi: 10.1002/oby.20468. Epub 2013 Jul 5. PubMed PMID:23526732; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3795990.
  • Wang HE, Shapiro NI, Griffin R, Safford MM, Judd S, Howard G. Inflammatory and endothelial activation biomarkers and risk of sepsis: a nested case-controlstudy. J Crit Care. 2013 Oct;28(5):549-55. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2012.11.002. Epub 2013 Feb 12. PubMed PMID: 23414982; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3814035.
  • Wang HE, Shapiro NI, Griffin R, Safford MM, Judd S, Howard G. Chronic medical conditions and risk of sepsis. PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e48307. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048307. Epub 2012 Oct 31. PubMed PMID: 23118977; PubMedCentral PMCID: PMC3485139.
  • Wang HE, Szydlo D, Stouffer JA, Lin S, Carlson JN, Vaillancourt C, Sears G,Verbeek RP, Fowler R, Idris AH, Koenig K, Christenson J, Minokadeh A, Brandt J, Rea T; ROC Investigators. Endotracheal intubation versus supraglottic airway insertion in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Resuscitation. 2012Sep;83(9):1061-6. Epub 2012 Jun 1. PubMed PMID: 22664746; PubMed Central PMCID:PMC3733371.
  • Wang HE, Gamboa C, Warnock DG, Muntner P. Chronic kidney disease and risk of death from infection. Am J Nephrol. 2011;34(4):330-6. doi: 10.1159/000330673.Epub 2011 Aug 22. PubMed PMID: 21860228; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3169360.
  • Wang HE, Devereaux RS, Yealy DM, Safford MM, Howard G. National variation in United States sepsis mortality: a descriptive study. Int J Health Geogr. 2010 Feb15;9:9. doi: 10.1186/1476-072X-9-9. PubMed PMID: 20156361; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2831852.

News Media


We appreciate the dedicated and hard work from the following individuals who have assisted with the success of the REGARDS-Sepsis study.

Dylan Addis, MD | Abena Afriyie, MPH | Bryant Allen, MD | Mathias Allen, MD | Aseem Bharat, MPH | Adam Blakeney | Hallie Blunck, MD |  Edmond Box  | Karen Brown, MSHA | Bonnie Browne, MPH | Ninad Chaudhary, MBBS, MPH | John Mark Chestnut, MD | Austen Christen | Jason Crowell, MD | Diana Dean | Randolph Devereaux, PhD, MSPH | John Donnelly, MSPH | Mary Beth Epps, MPH | Tiffany Gaither | Kelsey Harnish | Victoria Hartley | Lisa Hwang, MPH | Sharon Jackson | Seth Jarrell | Suzanne Judd, PhD | Andrew Kuklinski | Daniel Lloyd | Alan Lucas, MD | Sohil Makwana, MD | John-Ryan McAnally, MD |  Rhonda McDavid, MBA | Justin Moore, MPH | Paul Muntner, PhD | Edwin Mwakalindile, MD | Su Nguyen, MD | Connor Ojard | Kristina Osborn, MD | David Otuada, MPH | Holland Pierce | Stephen Powell, MD | Thomas Clark Powell, MPH | David Rhodes, MPH | Mollie Scheib | Sara Singhal, MD | Jason Skelley, MD  | Albert “Sonny” Sledge, MD | Buck Smith, MD | Katie Smyrski, MPH | Ross Steinhilber, MD | Yvonne Storey | Sean Vanlandingham, MD, MBA | David Warnock, MD | Born Zheng, MD