Have you ever wanted to learn more about how your habits, background and environment affect your health? If so, you’re not alone. The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has teamed up with the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program to gather health data from more than one million people across the U.S., and you’re invited to participate.
What is the All of Us Research Program?
All of Us is a national research program spearheaded by the National Institutes of Health. All of Us aims to accelerate health research and medical breakthroughs by learning more about the factors that affect health and disease. How do they do that? By building a massive and diverse dataset of participants from all backgrounds. The overall goal of the program is to enroll one million or more volunteers—especially in communities that have been underrepresented in biomedical research, including:
- Ethnic and racial minorities
- People living in rural communities
- People living with disabilities
- Individuals who identify as LGBTQ+
- People with lower income
- Older adults
“Researchers can use these data to better understand health and disease. This could help identify risk factors for certain diseases, connect people to the right clinical studies, discover which treatments work best for different types of peoples and explore how technology can help people take better care of their health.”Cora E. Lewis, MD MSPH FACP FAHA, chair of the Department of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health and co-PI of the Southern Network.
In 2018, the program partnered with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) to launch the Southern Network of the All of Us Research Program, and has enrolled thousands of participants since then.
“The Southern Network is one of the largest in the All of Us Research Program and provides an opportunity to engage the diverse communities in our region. Our enrollment efforts have gained major momentum over the past year, especially as more and more of our partner sites have come online.”Bruce R. Korf, M.D., Ph.D., UAB’s chief genomics officer
How do I enroll in the All of Us Research Program?
So, what does it look like to participate in the All of Us Research Program? People who choose to participate will share information about their health, habits and what it’s like where they live. Researchers will use this information to determine what affects people’s health.
“We are urging the people of our southern region to take advantage of this unique research opportunity. This is a chance to directly affect research into diseases that disproportionately impact the South, especially in populations that are traditionally underrepresented in biomedical research. The people of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana have a real opportunity to create better health outcomes for generations to come, not just here, but all over the country. We want the program to reflect the rich diversity of the Deep South and to maximize our opportunity to make a positive difference in the future of health care.”Mona Fouad, M.D., director of the UAB Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center
Participating in the All of Us Research Program is quick and can be done in six simple steps. To start, visit the All of Us Research Program website. Then:
- Create an account
- Give your consent
- Agree to share your electronic health records
- Complete the Consent to Get DNA Results
- Answer health surveys
- Have your measurements taken (height, weight, blood pressure, etc.) and give blood and urine samples, if asked
Steps one through five can be done ahead of time online, via the free All of Us app or in-person at a participating clinic or mobile location.
What’s in it for me?
Although All of Us is seeking input from over one million people, each participant is as important as they are unique. By participating in All of Us, you will be directly contributing to research that may be able to improve long-term health for everyone.
Here’s the best part—if you choose to participate, you will still retain control over your data. You can choose how much information you want to share. You can have access to the results of the research—including your DNA results and health records. Plus, you can withdraw from participating in All of Us at any time and choose to stop sharing your data with the researchers.
Plus, when you complete all six steps, you’ll receive a $25 gift card for your participation! Click here to begin!
BONUS: Check out All of Us at The World Games 2022
Planning to attend The World Games 2022 in Birmingham? While there, you might see representatives from All of Us! The All of Us Research Program will be on-site for the duration of The World Games 2022, between July 7th and July 17th.
Attendees of The World Games 2022 can participate in the All of Us Research Program at their activation space, located at City Walk BHAM each day from 5PM to 9PM.
“We are helping to build one of the largest databases of its kind for health research, one that will reflect the diversity of our region and nation. All of Us will use the most advanced informatics and genomics approaches available to accelerate discoveries to benefit people from all backgrounds. With the help of volunteers from Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, we will open new doors in the prevention and treatment of a host of diseases, some of which have plagued our population for decades.”Bruce R. Korf, M.D., Ph.D., UAB’s chief genomics officer