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 (no number assigned)

UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences Intramural Pilot Grant (no number assigned)

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

REGARDS-Sepsis Principle Investigator

Henry Wang MD, MS, MPH
Professor and Vice Chair of 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 Safford, MD
Division of Preventive Medicine
UAB School of Medicine

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

Nathan 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, Program Manager
  • Jordan Morgan, MPH, Program Coordinator
  • Hallie Blunck, MD, Research Assistant
  • John Donnelly, MSPH, Student Research Assistant
  • Lisa Hwang, MPH, Research Assistant
  • David Otuada, MPH, Research Assistant


UAB Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive Medicine

  • David Rhodes, MPH, Director of Operations (REGARDS Study)
  • Sharon Jackson, Clinical Trials Specialist


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 Publications:

  • 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. PMCID: PMC3902401.
  • Wang HE, Griffin R, Judd S, Shapiro NI, Safford MM. Obesity and risk of sepsis: a population-based cohort study. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013 Dec;21(12):E762-9. 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-control study. J Crit Care. 2013 Oct;28(5):549-55. PMCID: PMC3814035.
  • 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. PLoS One. 2013 Jul 23;8(7):e69232. 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 the United States. PeerJ. 2013 May 21;1:e79. PMCID: PMC3661074.
  • 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. PMID: 23118977.
  • 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. 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 Feb 15;9:9. PMID: 20156361.
  • Wang HE, Weaver MD, Shapiro NI, Yealy DM. Opportunities for Emergency Medical Services care of sepsis. Resuscitation. 2010 Feb;81(2):193-7. PMID: 20006419.
  • Wang HE, Shapiro NI, Angus DC, Yealy DM. National estimates of severe sepsis in United States emergency departments. Crit Care Med. 2007 Aug;35(8):1928-36. PMID: 17581480.

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
Edmond Box
Karen Brown, MSHA
Bonnie Browne, MPH
John Mark Chestnut, MD
Austen Christen
Jason Crowell, MD
Diana Dean
Randolph Devereaux, PhD, MSPH
Mary Beth Epps, MPH
Tiffany Gaither
Kelsey Harnish
Victoria Hartley
Sharon Jackson
Seth Jarrell
Suzanne Judd, PhD
Andrew Kuklinski
Daniel Lloyd
Alan Lucas, MD
Sohil Makwana, MD
John-Ryan McAnally, MD
Rhonda McDavid, MBA
Paul Muntner, PhD
Edwin Mwakalindile, MD
Su Nguyen, MD
Connor Ojard
Kristina Osborn, MD
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