Investigation of the Cobb Collection, A Statistical Approach

Nicholas Guthrie 1,2

  1. W. Montague Cobb Research Laboratory, Howard University
  2. Department of Biology, Howard University
Health disparities for African Americans (AA) include differences in rates of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, periodontitis and life expectancy. In addition, populations living in poverty also exhibit health issues including asthma attacks, obesity, and because a greater percent of Afro-descendant people continue to live below the poverty line, a duality of risk factors exist for this population. The Cobb Collection (CC) is an invaluable snapshot of AA medical history in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, being the largest skeletal archive for AA’s in the United States. Archiving numerous points of medical data in a randomized fashion, the CC is a perfect candidate collection to compare pathology incident rates over the last 150 years. The data points of the CC include cause of death, place of death with a corresponding morgue number, death certificate number, age, sex, race, birthplace, maternal and paternal birthplace, address, and duration dwelling in Washington, DC. This study aims to present the patterns of these AA’s from the Washington DC Area, including migration patterns and pathology incident rates. Once completed, this data will be compared to patterns in the modern day to provide a historical background and make inferences on medical progress and health disparities over the past 150 years.

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