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Learn more about a Rochester organization that has been in the community for over 50 years!

If you have been down to Thursday’s on First and 3rd this year, you know how great some of our vendors are, but this year we want to take the time to highlight a few of the organizations that help make this event possible. Throughout the rest of the summer we will be using our blog and social media accounts to introduce some of our fantastic partners.

The first partner we would like to highlight has been in the community for more than 50 years. The Rochester Epidemiology Project (REP) was founded by Dr. Leonard Kurland right here in Olmsted County and over the years has grown to include  an additional 26 counties in SE Minnesota and SW Wisconsin.  You can visit with REP staff and pick-up a gift at  Thursdays on First & 3rd tomorrow, July 13th and again on August 10th from 3PM to 6PM near the Peace Plaza Stage.

About The Rochester Epidemiology Project

The Rochester Epidemiology Project (REP) is a research collaboration that began in Olmsted County, MN in 1966 with a partnership between Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center.  For more than 50 years, the collaboration has been providing researchers with the rare opportunity to follow a patient’s healthcare throughout a lifetime by reviewing medical records at multiple health care facilities.  And, because patients have given permission to use their records for research, REP researchers have been able to answer questions that cannot be answered anywhere else in the world.  Today, the collaboration has grown to also include the 26 counties surrounding Olmsted County as well as Mayo Clinic Health System, Olmsted County Public Health Services, Zumbro Valley Health Center, and numerous dental providers.  Since the REP is a collaboration, it is not a stand-alone organization but rather a grant-funded team led by world-renown scientists.

On the Horizon for REP

During the upcoming year, the REP will be fulfilling the objectives set-forth in the most recent grant, titled Multiple Chronic Conditions and Aging, funded by National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health.  The first objective is to test the theory that people who already have a chronic condition have a greater chance of rapidly developing additional chronic conditions more so than people without a chronic condition.

Why REP is Involved with Thursdays on First and 3rd

“The REP is participating in Thursdays on First and 3rd activities because it is an opportunity to thank community members for their willingness to authorize the use of their medical records for research.  We are grateful because without the ability to use medical records for research, REP researchers may not have discovered the increased risk of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) for children who receive anesthesia before age 2 or may not have found that it can be more harmful than beneficial for women to remove their ovaries prior to menopause (for women without a high genetic risk) or may not have realized that the risk of dementia has been going down in recent years.  And there are many more examples of discoveries made possible because of the REP’s ability to conduct medical records research.  So, thank you!” – Lori Klein, Administrative Manager for REP

Community News

In May 2017, the REP released a cool new tool called the Data Exploration Portal.  This free tool allows researchers, physicians and ordinary citizens the opportunity to explore disease information in their community.  For instance, it is possible to find out which diseases are most common in your county and who is most affected.  Try it out at:

If community members are interested in learning more about the Rochester Epidemiology Project, I encourage them to check out our newly created web timeline which documents the history of the REP from the very beginning through today.  Visit the REP timeline at: Also, more information can be found on our website or feel free to email us at