Health disparities in hypertension

Phone: (503) 346-3808 | Email:
IRB #16803
Project Lead: Nicole Bowles, PhD, Joshua Gonzalez, PhD, Principal Investigator: Steven Shea, PhD


Sleep and blood pressure study in Black Americans and White Americans

OHSU Researchers are seeking volunteers to investigate how the body’s internal clock affects your blood pressure. In particular, we are interested in the decrease or “dip” in blood pressure during sleep. Non-dipping blood pressure is a risk factor for cardiovascular events (e.g.: heart attack).

This may help us develop better treatments for hypertension, and compensates as much as $2,700

Can you or someone else participate

Can you or someone you know participate?

  • Participants are 30-60 years old
  • Non-smokers or individuals who’ve quit smoking
  • Free of medical conditions or only have unmedicated mild hypertension

How many visits would this study involve?

  • 2-4 screening visits at OHSU (typically less than 8 hours total)
  • 1-3 weeks data collection and screening at home
  • 1 "time-blinded"  stay for 6-days and nights at the OHSU research laboratory

What were other people’s experience in the study?

  • “My OHSU science vacation was better than a cruise.”
  • “It was interesting and a great opportunity to be a part of the scientific process.”
  • “I love research. It is fascinating to learn more about myself and how my body reacts in different situations. It was fun to work with such an awesome group of people.”
  • “Fun, interesting, glad I did it!”


It depends on your availability, but the quickest turnaround would take approximately a month.

We provide participants with copies of some of our study measures if they are interested. It is important to note these aren’t clinical diagnoses, but we can share EKG scans of the heart, blood panel results, and sleep report.

Our time-blinded studies allow us to study an individual’s internal 24-hour clock. To achieve this we restrict a participant’s access to electronics or time cues and may change the length of time that someone is awake or sleeping. The room for the inpatient visit is kept in dim-lighting so light does not alter the internal body clock.

The inpatient stay involves a variety of measures. We complete blood pressures, saliva and blood collections, exercise on a stationary bike, ultrasound imaging of your arm, and more!

When there is free time you can read books, draw, write, listen to music or podcasts, and watch television from our lab’s dvd offerings.

To learn more about the purpose of this study and our COVID-19 safety measures click here.

Nicole Bowles, PhD (L), Project Lead, Steven A. Shea, PhD (M) Principal Investigator, and Joshua Gonzalez, PhD (R), Post-doctoral Fellow and Project Lead
Nicole Bowles, PhD (L), Project Lead and Steven A. Shea, PhD (R) Principal Investigator, and Joshua Gonzalez, PhD, Post-doctoral Fellow and Project Lead

Our Study Team:

This study is led by Dr. Nicole Bowles. Dr. Bowles’s lab is based within the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at OHSU where she also examines the impact of cannabis use on sleep in young adults and how a firefighter’s work schedule can impact their sleep and health.

Alongside her work looking at health disparities, stressors and sleep, Dr. Bowles was the co-founder of the Institute’s Team for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity. We acknowledge that research has previously failed to respect Black people’s rights to safety and autonomy and must do better. 

Study team for the Health disparaties in hypertension