Research Projects

Bridging the Gap Between Asbestos Exposure and Hope

CARD serves as the liaison between the Libby community and the research world. This successful partnership accomplishes valuable research and protects the interest of community members.

We would like to take a moment to thank the Libby community for their continued support of the integral research we are able to do at the CARD Clinic.

CORA: CARD Outreach Recovery Assistance

Contract with Center for Mental Health Services for delivery of a training manual to address the psychosocial elements of a slow-motion technological disaster as it was recognized that this type of disaster presented new psychological and social issues and challenges that required a novel response. (Completed in 2004)

E: ABCs: Ethic’s: A Bridge between Communities and Scientists

CARD and University of MT. NIH grant awarded to U of M who subcontracted with CARD to provide an on-site coordinator for project activities in Libby. These activities included, work groups, development of an extensive website, interview and surveys, work with the schools including assistance with curriculum development, implementation and evaluation of activities. (CARD completed its role in 2005)

University of Montana

The University’s Center for Environmental Health Sciences conducted studies on genetic characteristics of individuals with ARD, the significance of auto antibodies in the Libby population, and inflammatory mechanisms of lung disease. (Completed in 2005)

Community-Based Focus Group: Karmanos/Wayne State University-Behavioral Science Research

A community-based focus group project aimed at exploring the psychosocial issues related to
Vermiculite/asbestos exposure. This was an exploratory, qualitative research project that led to the creation of more quantitative psychosocial projects, (i.e. the community-wide Voices of Libby survey project), based on the issues and topics brought forth by the community. (Completed in 2006)

MARF: New York University

Harvey Pass, MD, Chief of Thoracic Surgery and Oncology at New York University and NCI Center. Dr. Pass was co-investigator with Brad Black, MD (CARD) in studying a blood protein which could potentially detect Mesotheliomas in an early stage. This grant was awarded by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF) (Completed in 2007)

St. George: Montana State University-Nursing Research. “Descriptive Analysis of the Health Status of a National Asbestos Related Disease Cohort”

The study provided a comprehensive understanding of the asbestos related health status and health service needs of persons exposed to asbestos. This project was funded by the Office of Rural Health Policy. This project also resulted in a “Rural Policy Statement Models to Address Evolving Environmental Asbestos Exposure” published in Public Health Nursing. (Completed in 2007)

LANDIS: Libby Asbestos Digital Imaging Study

CARD subcontracted with ATSDR and collaborated with St. John’s Lutheran Hospital (now Cabinet Peaks Medical Center) to accomplish a comparison radiographic study to compare digital with hard copy x-rays to see if they are equivalent with regard to detecting and classifying asbestos related pleural abnormalities. This led to the use of digital films in our current programs. (Completed in 2008)

Voices of Libby: Karmanos/Wayne State University-Behavioral Science Research

Conducted focus group research in order to better understand communication, community and
family dynamics, and the social and psychological issues associated with the long term asbestos exposure experienced in Libby. The second project consisted of a random sample community-wide survey, (ZIP 59923), to implement a quantitative methods approach to determine how representative of the community the results of the focus groups were in defining the social, behavioral, and psychological effects on a community, family, and individual level. (Completed in 2008)

Montana State University-Nursing Research: “Exploring Research Communication and Engagement in a Rural Community”

The Libby Partnership Initiative. This project addresses the NIH Public Trust Initiative to improve the communication and interaction between researchers and the public. The project is designed to raise the level of public awareness, understanding, acceptance, and involvement in research and to establish community/academic partnership by application of research methods of Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR). (Completed in 2011)

CHIEFS: Childhood Health Exposure Investigation Follow-up Study University of Cincinnati

This project is a follow-up study focused on the 600 kids who participated in the 2000-2001 ATSDR screening project who were too young for radiographic studies at that time. (Completed in 2015)

LERP: Libby Epidemiology Research Project

ATSDR and EPA agreed to a $5 million health risk initiative to add to the understanding of long-term health effects of exposure to LAA in Libby, MT and surrounding communities. The initiative involves a childhood exposure project, an autoimmune project, and a CT scoring project. (Completed in 2016)

Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA) & Mesothelial Cell Auto-Antibody (MCAA) Studies

The CARD Clinic has found that positive ANA results are correlated with Libby Amphibole asbestos exposure. Our CARD providers are available for consultation in coordination with rheumatologists, who are providing care for patients impacted by Libby Amphibole Disease. The decision to add ANA testing to CARD’s grant-funded screening program was based on results of research done over the past 15 years on autoimmune diseases and Libby Amphibole asbestos exposure. Recent addition of MCAA to the screening process was also the result of CARD research. Funding was approved by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

CARD Data Base

The data base is part of a larger project aimed at enabling the CARD Clinic to collect, maintain, and disseminate medical and exposure data related to Libby Amphibole asbestos disease. The CARD’s patient treatment data can then be integrated with environmental sampling information, soil, air and water from locations in and around Libby, and blood and tissue samples donated by residents. The second part of the project is tracking latent and low-exposure populations by integrating Libby schools student body information from 1960 forward, to integrate into the data base files.

Visit our Card Data Base Page for more information.

CARD Case Series

CARD is committed to spreading awareness of LAA. Our case series publication highlights unique aspects of LAA diseases. One of our publications “Not Your Grandfather’s Asbestosis”, which can be found for free online, highlights the differences of LAA. The rapid progression seen in this report was true for individuals who were exposed through both occupational and non-occupational pathways. This demonstrates how the full community was impacted by the exposure. Furthermore, this report details how the progression of ARD resulting from exposure to LAA does not follow the progression of other asbestos exposures and diseases. More details can be found here on our website at

CARD Scientific Advisory Group

The Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) is a dedicated committee of individuals who volunteer their expertise and services. Its primary objective is to provide guidance and recommendations to the Research Staff and Board of Directors regarding programming and research goals aligned with the mission of the Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD). The SAG also facilitates communication and collaboration between CARD and its academic and clinical partners. Meetings are held at least twice a year and as necessary, utilizing various formats such as face-to-face sessions, phone or video conferences, and electronic communication. Attendance at a majority of SAG meetings is mandatory, and participation in Biennial Conferences is highly encouraged.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead