With Data From “All of Us” NIH Launches Ambitious Data Repository

This month the National Institute of Health (NIH) launched the beta portal for “All of Us,” a project that aims to capture health data from over a million Americans. Born out of President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative, the data collected through “All of Us” will include not just health records or test results, but also lifestyle choices and, most importantly, genomic and biological data analysis to help fuel future medical research.

What is precision medicine?

Precision medicine, a term that is sometimes used interchangeably with “personalized medicine,” is a medical model that encourages healthcare professionals to customize treatments to the individual patient. Precision medicine takes into account the patient’s unique environmental and biological situation, in addition to the patient’s presenting symptoms. With this information, the healthcare professional may create a treatment plan that is tailored to that specific person, instead of using a standard treatment that is thought to work for the “average” patient.

Why 1 Million?

The All of Us program is specifically geared to be a broad and diverse program. Minority communities are often underrepresented in medical research, as most research populations tend to be homogenous, specifically white and male (Oh et al, 2015). All of Us aims to correct the gap in research data by aiming for a study population that better reflects the rich diversity of America. Researchers hope that this data will feed into the precision medicine model to obtain better health outcomes for Americans from all different backgrounds.

How do I join All of Us?

There are several ways to sign up for All of Us:

  • Visit the website joinallofus.org for an online login and contact info
  • Contact your affiliated healthcare provider – see the list here

Are you a Genomics Researcher Looking for Funding?

For its next funding round, the “All of Us” program is looking to fund large-scale genomic data collection, including genotyping, genomic sequencing and genome analysis. Keep an eye on the All of Us funding website for future details.

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Laurie Breen

Laurie Breen is a freelance writer well-versed in research communications and grant writing. She received her Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Smith College and has worked previously at the University of Queensland's Centre for Clinical Research in Brisbane, Australia. Her favorite conversational topic is "antibiotic-resistant bacteria," making her a big hit at parties.