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Sea Island Genetic African American Family Registry

Project SuGAR (Sea Island Genetic African American Family Registry), is a community based research study focusing on families with affected by SUGAR diabetes (Type 2 Diabetes). It began in 1995 under the direction of William T. Garvey with start up funds from the Department of Medicine. The purpose of Project SuGAR is to identify the genes that cause the expression of diabetes, obesity, and related diseases and complications in African Americans. The study was conducted by doctors and nurses at the Medical University of South Carolina from 1995 to 2004 in cooperation with:

  • Sea Island Comprehensive Health Care Center
  • Franklin C. Fetter Family Health Center
  • Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive
  • Health Care Center
  • Health Care Partners of South Carolina, Inc.
  • St. James Santee Medical Center
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities in South Carolina and the MUSC/HBCU Partners in Wellness Project
  • REACH 2010 (CDC)
  • Waccamaw Public Health District
  • Family Health Centers, Inc.
  • Smith Medical Clinic on Pawley's Island Pee Dee Health District

Project SuGAR is an important component of the Sea Islands Families Project (SIFP), which is composed of S.C. COBRE and SLEIGH. SIFP represents a broader effort to identify genes that cause complex or polygenic diseases in African Americans.


  • Establish a world class family registry and DNA Bank of Sea Island Families to identify genetic defects or mutations responsible for complex diseases.
  • Develop long-term collaborations with people and institutions on the Sea Islands to promote preventative health.