The CHRU conducts epidemiologic, genetic, pharmacoepidemiologic, pharmacogenetic, and health-services research addressing cardiovascular disease risk factors and outcomes in adults. The CHRU collaborates extensively with local institutions in the Pacific Northwest, such as the Group Health Research Institute, Seattle-King County Health Department's Emergency Medical Services (EMS), the Seattle Medic One Program, and the University of Washington Nutrition Obesity Research Center, to perform population and patient-oriented research to study causes and treatments for cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction, stroke, sudden cardiac death, atrial fibrillation, pulmonary embolism, and heart failure. The collaborations extend nationally and internationally, including the Cohorts for Health and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Consortium and the US Food and Drug Administration’s Mini-Sentinel Initiative.

Funding of CHRU research is primarily from public sources such as the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and National Institute on Aging within the National Institutes of Health and the US Food and Drug Administration. The CHRU also receives funds from non-profit organizations and foundations such as the American Heart Association, Locke Charitable Foundation, and the Medic One Foundation.