Chicago – The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) is partnering with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to launch the All of Us Research Program—a momentous effort to advance individualized prevention, treatment and care for people of all backgrounds. People ages 18 and older, regardless of health status, will be able to join the program starting May 6.
Volunteers will join more than 25,000 participants across the United States who have already enrolled in All of Us as part of a year-long beta test to prepare for the program’s national launch. The overall aim isF to enroll one million or more volunteers, including individuals who have been underrepresented in research to make the program the largest, most diverse resource of its kind.
“The time is now to transform how we conduct research—with participants as partners—to shed new light on how to stay healthy and manage disease in more personalized ways. This is what we can accomplish through All of Us,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
Precision medicine is an emerging approach to disease treatment and prevention that considers differences in people’s lifestyles, environments and biological makeup, including genes. By partnering with one million diverse people who share information about themselves over many years, the All of Us Research Program will enable research to more precisely prevent and treat a variety of health conditions.
“All of us are unique, but today we live mostly in an era of ‘one-size-fits-all’ medicine,” said Eric Dishman, director of the All of Us Research Program. “I’m alive today because of precision medicine, and I think everyone deserves that same opportunity no matter the color of your skin, your economic status, your age or your sex or gender. In other words, it will truly take all of us.”
BCBSA joins more than 100 organizations throughout the U.S. who are funded by NIH to support the program. BCBSA is working closely with Scripps Research Translational Institute (SRTI) – which is leading the program’s national participant center – to raise awareness of All of Us in communities across the country in an effort to engage and enroll direct volunteers in the program.
“BCBSA is proud to partner with the All of Us Research Program, which has the potential to transform how care is delivered in the future,” said Maureen Sullivan, chief strategy and innovation officer at BCBSA. “By helping doctors and health professionals learn how to best tailor care to meet individual health needs, we’ll be able to improve the lives and health of all Americans for generations to come.”
All of Us seeks to transform the relationship between researchers and participants, bringing them together as partners to inform the program’s directions, goals and responsible return of research information. Participants will be able to access their own health information, summary data about the entire participant community and information about studies and findings that come from All of Us.
Participants are asked to share different types of health and lifestyle information, including through online surveys and electronic health records (EHRs), which will continue to be collected over the course of the program. At different times over the coming months and years, some participants will be asked to visit a local partner site to provide blood and urine samples and to have basic physical measurements taken, such as height and weight. To ensure that the program gathers information from all types of people, especially those who have been underrepresented in research, not everyone will be asked to give physical measures and samples. In the future, participants may be invited to share data through wearable devices and to join follow-up research studies, including clinical trials.
Also in future phases of the program, children will be able to enroll, and the program will add more data types, such as genetic data. In addition, data from the program will be broadly accessible for research purposes. Ultimately, the All of Us Research program will be a rich and open data resource for traditional academic researchers as well as citizen scientists—and everyone in between.
On the program’s May 6, launch date, the All of Us Research Program will host special events in diverse communities around the country.
People also may take part in social media activities (#JoinAllofUs) or tune in at https://Launch.JoinAllofUs.org to watch speakers across the country talk about precision medicine and the power of volunteering for research.
To learn more about the program and how to join, please visit https://www.JoinAllofUs.org.
“All of Us” is a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).