The Joint Coordinating Committee for Radiation Effects Research (JCCRER) was established through a bilateral U.S.-Russian agreement to support research and exchange information on radiation health effects. The U.S. member agencies include the Department of Energy (DOE), Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Department of Defense (DoD), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Russians are represented by the Ministries of Emergencies (EMERCOM), Atomic Energy (MINATOM) and Health (MINZDRAV), and the Russian Academy of Sciences (IBRAE). The focus of this research is on the workers from the Mayak Production Association (MAYAK) in the Southern Urals and on the neighboring populations along the Techa River exposed to contamination from the plant. The goal of the program is to better define the relationship between the health effects and the chronic low dose and dose-rate exposure, these data being essential to validate current radiation protection standards and practices. The current primary areas of JCCRER research include dose reconstruction, epidemiologic health studies, molecular epidemiology/biodosimetry, and the creation of tissue banks. The organization of the ongoing research conducted under the aegis of the JCCRER and the rationale for this work are described.