Recently, Eva van der Linden successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled 'Epidemiology and epigenetics of cardiovascular risk in African migrants' at the University of Amsterdam. In her thesis she analysed the presence of high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and metabolic syndrome in the participants of the RODAM study, and she studied epigenetic modifications associated with these risk factors. A summary of her results and conclusions can be found here.

End of this month, a delegation of the RODAM research team will present work from the RODAM epigenetic studies at the International Conference of Human Genetics in Cape Town, South Africa. They hope to disseminate their findings on the role of epigenetics in cardiovascular disease in Ghanaian migrants and non-migrants. This is a great opportunity to connect with other researchers in the field and to lay the foundation for future collaborations, aiming to unravel the burden of cardiovascular risk in Ghanaians.

Update 3-3-2023: The conference visit has been highly successfull with an oral presentation by Dr Felix Chilunga and two poster presentations by Eva van der Linden covering results of several epigenetic studies within RODAM. It was a great reunion with Dr Karlijn Meeks who is currently working at the National Institutes of Health in the USA and is part of the RODAM-Pros review board.

RODAM delegates in Cape Town (from left to right: Peter Henneman, Felix Chilunga, Karlijn Meeks and Eva van der Linden)

Good news for everyone interested in the first results of the RODAM prospective cohort study: the cohort profile including a summary of the collected data has been published in BMJ Open. We thank the research assistants, interviewers and other staff of the three research locations who have taken part in gathering the data and, most of all, the Ghanaian volunteers participating in this project. We hope to share more results of the follow-up study with you in the months to follow.

Last month, Muhau Mungamba has started her PhD trajectory, which is a joint degree program between Walter Sisulu University (South Africa) and Amsterdam UMC. The main focus of her project is the role of epigenetics on chronic kidney disease among Arican population using data from the RODAM study. Welcome Muhau!

From 22nd till 25th of February, the Cardiometabolic Health and Diabetes Conference Africa Congress will be held, and "RODAM professor" Prof. Agyemang is member of the Congress Organising Committee. During the scientific programme, many reseachers will present their results of the RODAM study. Amongst others, there will be presentations on stressful life events and the association with cardiovascular diseases, the validation of diabetes risk scores, and on determinants of high blood pressure.

We are excited to share these results from the RODAM study with other researcher in the field of cardiometabolic health in Africa.

For more information about CMH Congress please visit their website.

In October, we included our last Pros-RODAM participants in Amsterdam. This means that as of the 1st of November 2021, the Pros-RODAM data collection has been completed inall study sites, which is a huge milestone. We would like to thank all participants, research assistants, interviewers and other staff of the research locations who have
taken part in the data collection.

We started with the cleaning of data, and hope the data will soon be available for analysis. We are looking forward to share the first results with you soon.

On Wednesday 8th September 2021, 16h00 CET, Felix Chilunga will publicly defend his PhD thesis entitled Beyond the traditional risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases among transitioning African populations: An investigation into novel epidemiological and epigenetic factors - including several papers analysing data from the RODAM study. Good luck with your defence, Felix!

Eva van der Linden, Pros-RODAM PhD student, has received Fulbright Scholarship to visit National Institute of Health (Bethesda, USA)! She will visit the Center for Research on Genomics and Global Health to learn more about (epi-) genetic analysis in the context of migration and global health. During a special award ceremony at the US Embassy in Wassenaar, she received this prestigious grant.

This week, Felix Chilunga and team published their results in The Lancet Healthy Longevity comparing the epigenetic age of RODAM participants living in Ghana and Europe, and showed that the cells of European Ghanaians were ageing less rapidly than in the home-based Ghanaians. This interesting finding and its implications are discussed on the website of Amsterdam UMC and in a commentary in The Lancet Healthy Longevity.

Hurray, the data collection for the RODAM follow-up have been completed in the study sites in rural and urban Ghana. Huge thanks to our team in Ghana for all the hard work that has been put in to making the RODAM follow-up data collection a success. Bravo!

Prof. Ellis Owusu-Dabo, RODAM study partner, has been appointed as a Pro-Vice Chancellor at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology. The RODAM team congratulates him on this new position!

Prof. Liam Smeeth, RODAM study partner,  has been appointed as a Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Congratulations on this achievement!

Prof. Charles Agyemang has been appointed as a Scientific Chair for Global Society of Migration, Ethnicity, Race & Health

The RODAM website has been updated, including a new lay-out and information on the follow-up data collection, that is currently in its final stages.

Congratulations to Prof. Charles Agyemang who has been awarded a prestigious Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) for his project ‘Hypertension susceptibility in African migrants: solving the puzzle through a transcontinental prospective cohort study design’. This is a huge achievement and an important opportunity to move the RODAM study to the next level!

Dr. Charles Agyemang, leading PI of the RODAM study, was interviewed for the New York times and by BBC World Service. RODAM study results are having a global impact! You can read the New York times article here and a fragment of the BBC interview can be listened through this link.

An epigenome-wide association study of anthropometric measures has now been published in the journal Clinical Epigenetics. With that, it's not only the first genomics paper of the RODAM study, but it is also a landmark paper of epigenomic studies in Africans. Never before has an epigenomic study in Africans been published. Click here to view the publication.

The paper shows that epigenetic loci are involved in adiposity - general obesity and abdominal obesity - among Ghanaians. We identified epigenetic loci that were also associated with adiposity in other populations and that therefore potentially play a role in adiposity accross populations. In addition, we also identified novel epigenetic loci that are potentially African-specific. Further research is needed to confirm these findings and to determine the role of these epigenetic loci in the high burden of adiposity among Ghanaians and other African populations.

In September Felix Chilunga from Malawi will start as PhD student on the RODAM study. He will use RODAM data to the role of epigenetics in cardiovascular risk factors in sub-Saharan African populations in Europe and Africa. Welcome Felix!

Four RODAM PhD students have submitted or even already successfully defended their PhD theses; Rachel Brathwaite, Raphael Baffour Awuah, Ernest Afrifa-Anane and Karlijn Meeks.Rachel defended her thesis:
"Differences in smoking by location of residence, ethnic groups and country of origin: the Ghanaian perspective in sub-Saharan Africa and Europe".
Raphael's thesis is entitled:
"Psychosocial factros and non-communiable diaseases among Ghanaians in Ghana and Ghanaian migrantsin selected European countries".
Ernest did his PhD on:
"Physical activity and cariovascular disease risk among rural and urban Ghanaians and Ghanaian migrants in selected European countries".
Karlijn will defend her thesis in the fall:
"Epidemiology and epigenetics of type 2 diabetes among African migrants in Europe".

We are delighted with this excellent achivement!

RODAM intends to disseminate the study findings to African populations. Dr. Charles Agyemang was interviewed about the implications of the RODAM study on Majesty TV, a tv channel viewed by the African community. Please click the image to view the program.

The Ghanaian community in Amsterdam organized an event called "your health is your wealth" wherein the RODAM study was a central theme. About 400 west Africans resident in Amsterdam attended the event. They listened to lectures in which we shared RODAM results and they had the opportunity to have their blood glucose and blood pressure measured. Please click the image for a video impression:

We can announce the final numbers of inclusion for RODAM! We have 946 participants in Rural Ghana, 1619 in Urban Ghana, 1900 in Amsterdam, 662 in Berlin and 1258in Londen. That makes a total of 6385inclusions!! A good end of the year. Happy holidays everyone!

For transport of blood samples from Ghana to Europe, dryshippers were used. These carriers cool the samples for a much longer period than ordinary styrofoam boxes would. After data collection was finished several dryshippers were sent to Ghana to transport the remaining samples.

The 30th of September was de official last day of including participants. We have almost reached all our goals in terms of numbers and of course that was something worth celebrating!

The 4 RODAM countries all take part in the World Cup "Futbol"..... starting tonight! Good luck to the teams of Ghana, Germany, UK and the Netherlands. May the best team win!

In Amsterdam RODAM is linked to the HELIUS study ( In order to get Ghanaian youth interested in participating in the study a rap was made which is currently broadcasted through local Ghanaian media. The video can be watched here.

The RODAM protocol paper named "Rationale and cross-sectional study design of the Research on Obesity and type 2 Diabetes among African Migrants: the RODAM study" is published in BMJ open! Please find the article here:

A great milestone for RODAM; the Amsterdam site reached the numbers for inclusion!! The goal of 1250 per site was reached in Amsterdam as of today 1261 Amsterdam Ghanaians have participated.

Royalty-free clipart picture of a bunch of floating party balloons with confetti at a party.

The RODAM dissemination group organised a symposium during the second African Diabetes Congress held in Yaoundé, Cameroun which was chaired by Dr. Charles Agyemang. During the symposium preliminary RODAM findings were presented by Prof. Ama de Graft-Aikins and Karlijn Meeks. It was highly attend and very relevant questions were posed. For the first time the health of migrants is being taken very seriously at this high level. The RODAM nutrition was accepted to be presented as a poster by Dr. Cecilia Galbete. Apart from that RODAM was presented as one of the major studies currently ongoing in Africa. The presentation was done by Dr. Charles Agyemang and very well attended as well. In short, RODAM is making a huge impact on diabetes in the African continent.

On Thursday the 21th of November key leaders of the Ghanaian community were invited at the AMC. Present were among others ambassador Veronica van de Kamp, several pastors, Ghanaian media, and a politician. The RODAM progress was presented followed by a discussion how to reach even more Ghanaian participants. There were good suggestions and we hope for continued support of these key leaders in reaching the goals of RODAM and disseminating findings among the Ghanaian community.

Meeting with the steering board in Potsdam. Progress was discussed as well as the way forward.

PhD Students Rachel Brathwaite (London) and Karlijn Meeks (Amsterdam) visited the RODAM team in Kumasi, Ghana.

Ghanaian media is actively involved in community sensitization. Tuesday the 3rd of September a meeting was held in Amsterdam with Ghanaian radio and television coordinators to discuss plans for a new period of media attention for RODAM. The focus of the media will shift from sharing information on the project itself towards sharing information on health. Information on healthy lifestyle and nutrition will be provided during a workshop, tv interviews and interactive radio broadcasts where listeners can ask their health-related questions to an expert in the field.

Meeting with Ghanaian media in Amsterdam

Significant achievement for the RODAM project; data collection in rural Ghana is completed! Congratulations to the Ghanaian team. 1269 participants have been sampled of which 1057 are complete.

Dr. Charles Agyemang, Linda Boateng and Karlijn Meeks visited the Church of Pentecost in Amsterdam South-East to encourage the Ghanaian community to participate in RODAM. Emphasis was put on nutrition by sharing information on healthy diet.

The four SICA projects had a fruitful meeting Friday the 24th of May at the Imperial College in Londen. For more information on the SICA projects see 'Related projects' on this website. All four projects presented an brief summary of their rationale followed by a detailed technical report regarding the progress so far and the challenges ahead. The meeting was very usefull for exchange of ideas and we expect valuable cooperation for the future.

Nutrition is a big part of the RODAM project, which is led by the team in Berlin. All participants of RODAM fill in a Ghana Specific Food Frequency Questionnaire. This is a questionnaire asking the average frequency of consumption for a list of food items. In order to validate the Food Frequency Questionnaire, 24hr recalls will be performed among a subsample of the participants; 100 per site. A 24hr recall is a retrospective dietary assessment methods asking the participant in detail about the foods consumed during the previous 24 hours. Portion sizes are estimated using example dishes from a standardized kit. Four interviewers were trained at the University of Amsterdam for performing these interviews.

Berlin is expecting to start data collection in about two weeks. A first selection of 245 Ghanaians resident in Berlin have received an invitation letter for RODAM. In preparation for the physical examinations the Berlin RODAM coordinator and research nurse came to Amsterdam for training. The research location in Amsterdam was shown and a participant was joined during the physical examination in order to close observe the procedures. In the afternoon there was ample opportunity to practice the measurements.

Click the photo to read the article in The Guardian.

The Amsterdam group has started disseminating posters with information about healthy nutrition especially designed for Ghanaians. The posters are send to the home address of RODAM participants who have completed the food questionnaire. The posters are accompanied by a letter providing information on cardiovascular disease and its causes, with a focus on obesity and type II diabetes. The posters contains recommendations for healthy eating as well as 'true' and 'false' boxes with information on common beliefs concerning healthy nutrition.

At the the start of the new year, on the 11th of January, a meeting was held with RODAM's steering committee and the advisory board. The meetng was held in Londen, in the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Below is a photo of the participants who attended this meeting.

At the 2nd and 3rd of February a meeting was held with the RODAM steering committee in the Academic Medical Centre (AMC) in Amsterdam. The overall aims of this kick-off meeting were to become acquainted with each other, to get the RODAM project started, and to reach an agreement on the structure & contents of RODAM. Below are several photo's of this kick-off meeting.

The RODAM study was supported by the European Commission under the Framework Programme (Grant Number: 278901), 
 the European Research Council (Grant Number: 772244) and the Amsterdam UMC.