The National Institutes of Health has chosen four community partners to join its All of Us precision medicine research program, which seeks to gather data from at least one million people in the United States to improve health. The program is part of the Precision Medicine Initiative created by President Barack Obama in 2015 and was formerly known as the PMI Cohort.
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The partners will receive a combined $1.7 million to raise awareness about the research program among African Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, seniors and the LGBTQ communities. Researchers will use the data collected from the program to learn how individual biological, environmental and lifestyle differences influence disease and health.
Participants will be asked basic information about their health, family, home life and work. Researchers may request access to a participant’s electronic health record, and may ask participants to attend a local clinic where health information such as weight, height, blood pressure and heart rate will be collected.
Dara Richardson-Heron, chief engagement officer for All of Us, said in a release, “Medical breakthroughs have traditionally been based on findings from a limited portion of the U.S. population,” but that the hope is for “future research to include all of us.” Including diverse populations in precision medicine research enables healthcare to be tailored to individual differences, she added.
To that end, the initial group of awardees is:
- FiftyForward, which will share information about the program with economically disadvantaged older populations through lifelong learning centers and home-based centers.
- The National Alliance for Hispanic Health, which will launch bilingual local and national initiatives to promote the precision medicine research program in Hispanic communities.
- The Delta Research and Educational Foundation, in collaboration with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and the National Council of Negro Women, which will launch a “Research Matters” health initiative to raise awareness for the program.
- The San Francisco General Hospital Foundation, which will engage gender and sexual minorities in the U.S.
Unlike many other precision medicine research programs, All of Us will not focus on one specific disease. Instead, it will act as a resource for researchers and explore ways to increase an individual’s odds of remaining healthy.
All of Us is currently in its beta testing phase and is slowly enrolling participants at different sites with the goal of expanding to at least 100 sites across the country.