TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Participating sites in the national “All of Us” Research Program, including The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences, have received another round of funding for work on the landmark effort to advance individualized care, prevention and treatment for people of all backgrounds.
The All of Us Research Program is part of the National Institutes of Health’s efforts to expand research into what is known as precision medicine – an emerging approach to disease treatment and prevention that considers differences in people’s lifestyles, environments and biological makeup. The goal is to be able to tell people the best way to stay healthy and, if someone gets sick, help health-care teams find the most effective treatments.
“I believe the All of Us Research Program will truly change the way medicine is practiced and help shape the way biomedical research is conducted to change the future of health. I am proud that The University of Alabama is a partner in this nationwide, landmark research program,” said Dr. John C. Higginbotham, principal investigator and lead researcher for the College’s efforts in All of Us. Higginbotham is also associate dean for Research and Health Policy for the College and interim vice president for Research and Economic Development for UA.
The new $600,000 in funding awarded to the College’s Institute for Rural Health Research runs until 2023. The College participates in the Southern All of Us Network, which is led by The University of Alabama at Birmingham.
The Institute for Rural Health Research’s initial enrollment efforts have focused on patients from University Medical Center, a multi-specialty medical practice operated by the College, but outside participants are also welcome. Those 19 and older, regardless of health status, are eligible to enroll through www.JoinAllofUs.org.
Participants will be asked, through online surveys, to share information about their personal health, family, home and work. Upon completion of the surveys, participants will be contacted by researchers from the Institute for Rural Health Research and might be asked to share their electronic health records and give samples, like blood or urine. Once they complete the process, they receive a $25 gift card.
“The All of Us Research Program was important for me to participate in so that I can assist in improving the future of medical diagnosis and treatment,” said Kendra Powell, a UA employee who was among the first to enroll. “I recently learned a potentially life-threatening medical issue may run in my family, and if I can provide assistance to more effectively catch, diagnosis and treat this or any medical condition, I want to help.”
Data from the program will be broadly accessible for research purposes, but individual participant information will be protected and kept private and confidential.
The goal of the All of Us Research Program is to enroll 1 million or more people nationwide. Information will be collected over the program’s 10-year course.
NIH has funded more than 100 organizations throughout the U.S. to be partners in the All of Us Research Program. As of today, more than 100,000 participants have registered, and 50,000 participants have fully enrolled nationwide in the program.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.