New program will enroll "citizen-scientists" as volunteers
Through partnerships with Walgreens, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), National Blood Collaborative, Quest Diagnostics and other organizations, the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) will head efforts to engage direct volunteers in the program
Working with mobile technology and bioinformatics companies, STSI will lead integration of mobile apps and digital medical devices into the program to collect and analyze an unprecedented range and depth of health data.
“All of Us represents a far-reaching initiative for what’s possible in medical research today and in the future, such as how individuals can generate useful data about their own health and what makes them tick,” says Eric Topol, director of STSI and professor of molecular medicine at The Scripps Research Institute. “The initiative will provide an unprecedented window into individual differences in biology, physiology, lifestyle and environment that shape human health, and ultimately will enable us to more effectively prevent and treat illness.”
The All of Us Research Program, will build the largest health data resource of its kind by asking one million or more participants to play an active role in collecting and sharing their unique health information. Health data from such a large and diverse group of people will enable scientists to study how different factors, such as genetics and exercise habits, impact a person’s health.
STSI will lead the program’s national Participant Center, which among other things will manage the enrollment of direct volunteers, which will be individuals interested in joining the study directly rather than through a participating health care provider organization. The goal is that anyone, regardless of geographic location or access to a participating health care provider, will be able to join.
Walgreens is utilizing its substantial marketing expertise to build awareness about the program and the opportunity to join, while also making select Walgreens Healthcare clinics available for collecting volunteers’ health data. “With a local community presence throughout the country, including medically underserved areas, Walgreens works to improve the health of millions of people every day, representing a cross section of all Americans,” said Pat Carroll, chief medical officer for Walgreens Healthcare Clinics. “Now, through the All of Us Research Program, we can offer people of diverse backgrounds a chance to volunteer in research that may improve the future health of all Americans. Our local community presence and our trusted relationship with our customers and pharmacy patients make us well-suited to help this effort.”
The data collected, along with information on the health history, genetics and other characteristics of the participants will help to provide unprecedented insight into how individual biological and lifestyle differences impact health and how those insights can be leveraged to better prevent and treat illness.
“With the number of people who will participate and the precision and breadth of the data that will be collected through mobile health technologies, All of Us will offer scientists the opportunity to study human health in ways that have never before been possible,” says Steven Steinhubl, director of digital medicine at STSI.
For more information on the All of Us Research Program, visit JoinAllofUs.org