The Consortium for the Longitudinal Evaluation of African-Americans with Early Rheumatoid Arthritis (CLEAR), supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), was established in 2000 to provide a resource for the scientific community to explore genetic and non-genetic factors affecting rheumatoid arthritis (RA) occurrence and outcomes in African Americans. The long term objective is a database and a repository of 1,100 RA and 550 matched healthy African-American subjects.  

This consortium is a collaborative effort among five academic institutions:

  • University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL (Coordinating Center)
  • Grady Hospital/Emory University, Atlanta, GA
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
  • Medical University of South Carolina, SC
  • Washington University, St. Louis, MO

This CLEAR registry has two arms: a longitudinal arm for subjects with early RA (enrollment from 2000 to 2005) and a cross-sectional arm for subjects with any disease duration (enrollment began in 2006 and is ongoing). CLEAR has two components: a database and a repository. The database contains extensive demographic, socioeconomic, clinical and radiographic information. The repository contains genomic DNA, RNA from peripheral blood cells, plasma and serum. These resources allow a comprehensive analysis of factors influencing disease susceptibility and severity in African-Americans with RA.

CLEAR I is composed of African-American RA patients with early disease (< 2 years) who are followed longitudinally until 5 years of disease duration. CLEAR II is a cross sectional arm, in which patients with any disease duration (typically longstanding) are seen at one time point.

For additional details about CLEAR I and CLEAR II RA patients, as well as control subjects and, available data and samples, click here.

 For a list of publications resulting from studies utilizing CLEAR data and samples, click here.

For more information or to request an ancillary study application to use data or biologic materials from CLEAR RA and control subjects, please contact Stephanie Ledbetter, CLEAR Project Manager, by email at