Air Force Health Study (Ranch Hand) - VA Cooperative Studies Program (CSP)
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VA Cooperative Studies Program (CSP)


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Air Force Health Study (Ranch Hand)


Data Sharing Statement 

What's available?

  • Research data (clinical measurements, questionnaires)
  • Biospecimens (blood serum, whole blood, urine, semen, adipose tissue)

Available Documentation 

Data forms and questionnaires1 (Look for the link under Other Activity Resources header on the right side of the page)

Dates Data are Available

Currently available, no end date

Access Criteria 

Data are available through the Health and Medicine Division (HMD) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Access is granted by Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee to qualified researchers as deemed appropriate based on proposed area of research. The application is available online.

Study Characteristics


To evaluate the frequency and nature of adverse health effects that might be related to exposure to “Agent Orange” and other military herbicides used during the Vietnam conflict.

Era of Service

Vietnam Era


Ranch Hand personnel who had served among the C-123 crews (pilot, copilot, navigator, and one spray operator, ground support) between 1962 and 1971.  Controls served in 1962 -1971 with no herbicidal exposure.

Study Design

Prospective cohort study

Time Period

1982 - 2002




  • 2,483
  • Exposure group: 1,242
  • Comparison group: 1,241

Response Rate

Information not available

Recruitment Method

Cohort enumeration involved the utilization of the Social Security Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, and VA. Location of subjects was determined using existing military records archived at the National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, Missouri, and the US Air Force Human Resources Laboratory, Brooks AFB, Texas.


Information not available

Data Collected

  • Demographics, education, occupation
  • Medical history
  • Study compliance
  • Toxic exposures
  • Reproductive history
  • Clinical results from physical exam

Data Collection Methods

  • Questionnaires
  • Physical examinations, including spirometry, chest X rays, electrocardiograms, dermatology and peripheral vascular examinations, neurological assessments, psychological testing, blood draws, urine and semen collections, skin and fat biopsies, and stool smears, etc.
  • Medical records
  • Biospecimen collection 
  • Mortality records data

Funding Source

Department of Veterans Affairs



Selected Publication

Robinson, J., Fox, K., Jackson, W., Ketchum, N., Pavuk, M., Grubbs, W. Air Force Health Study – An Overview.1 Organohalogen Compounds Vol 68 (2006).  

IOM (Institute of Medicine). 2015. The Air Force Health Study Assets Research Program.1 Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 

Landgren O, Shim YK, Miahelek J, et al. Agent Orange Exposure and Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance: An Operation Ranch Hand Veteran Cohort Study. JAMA Oncol. 2015 Nov;1(8):1601-8. 

Pavuk M, Patterson DG Jr, Turner WE. Serum concentrations of TCDD and other dioxin-like compounds in US Air Force veterans of Operation Ranch Hand. Chemosphere. 2014 May; 102:18-23.

More Information

Study website1 

1 This link takes you to a non-U.S. government website. VA isn't responsible for the content or privacy policies on that site and doesn't endorse the content or its sponsor.