The All of Us Research Program is introducing the next breakthrough in medicine. You!
We’re all different, but when we visit the doctor, our treatments are often the same, but what if your health care was tailored to you? This is called precision medicine, and research can help us get there. Precision medicine is health care that is based on each person as an individual. It is made up of three factors:
- ENVIRONMENT – Where you live
- LIFESTYLE – What you eat
- BIOLOGY – Your genes and family history
The goal is to help researchers understand more about why people get sick or stay healthy. In order to do this the doctors and scientists working with the All of Us Research program need 1 million or more people to join. People who join will share information about their health, habits, and what it’s like where they live. It might also be about family history and genes. When you enroll in the All of Us Research Program, you join an unprecedented effort to meet one goal: speed up health research. Studying DNA is a key part of this effort.
One side benefit of participating is that you get DNA results over time.
Your DNA carries a record of generations past. You get half of your DNA from your biological mother. The other half is from your biological father. Because of this, your DNA can tell you about your genetic ancestors from the last few hundred years.
Why Should I Join?
You will be contributing to research that may improve health for everyone. Research may help develop: better tests to see if people are sick or are at risk of getting sick, better mobile apps to encourage healthy habits, and better medicine or information about how much of a medicine is right for each person as an individual.
Jennifer Burns is the Site Manager for All of Us at UAB Huntsville Regional Medical Campus. Jennifer said she joined for personal reasons. “My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in her 40s, which is young. The BRCA gene is 1 of 59 genes being tested in this program. Not only will I potentially learn if I inherited this gene but I’ll be contributing to medical research which will hopefully benefit my daughters one day.”
To date, over 675,000 people have registered with the program by creating an online account. Since the program first launched in 2017, over 2,300 residents in the Tennessee Valley have registered. As with many organizations across the nation, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused some challenges. The program was forced to pause recruitment efforts for a year.
“When we were given the green light to recruit participants again, it almost felt as though we were starting over from the very beginning. A lot of our efforts, recently, have been focused on getting out in the community and educating others about the program. Once we’re able to explain the benefits of joining, people are excited and enthusiastic about what this could mean for the future of health care. People are concerned about their health now more than ever.” – Jennifer Burns, Site Manager for All of Us
UAB Huntsville Regional Medical Campus is a local partner with the All of Us Research Program. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8am -5pm at 301 Governors Drive, Huntsville, AL 35801. When the team isn’t working on campus, you can find them out in the community hosting pop-up enrollment events at medical offices, college/university campuses, and with local businesses/organizations. If you would like more information, call (256) 551-4420 or stop by their booth at the Panoply Arts Festival.
If you are interested in participating, go to JoinAllofUs.org/UABHuntsville
- 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 a blood and urine sample.
After completing these steps, you’ll receive $25.
FAQs about this program
Will it cost me anything to participate?
Taking part is free, and won’t cost you anything more than a little bit of your time.
Who can participate in the All of Us Research Program?
Anyone over the age of 19 in the United States can join.
What will be included in my DNA results?
If you select “yes” to the Consent to Get DNA Results, All of Us will return information to you about your DNA over time. Your DNA results might include your genetic ancestry and traits, whether you may have an increased risk of developing a particular health condition, how your body might react to certain medications, and other health- related information.
How long will the program last?
The program will last for at least 10 years; we hope you stay in it that long. You can choose to stop taking part at any time. If you do, your access to health care or treatment will not be affected.
How will you protect my DNA information?
Your privacy and data security are very important to us. We use the latest technology and follow all federal, state, and local laws and regulations to help keep your data private and safe. Your DNA information is also de-identified, which means that researchers studying your DNA will not know your personal details like your name or where you live.
Can my DNA information be used against me?
All of Us is designed to protect the security of our participants’ data. There are laws that help prevent your DNA information from being used against you. The National Human Genome Research Institute has information about these and other laws. Go to genome.gov/about-genomics/policy-issues/genetic-discrimination for more details.
As a hyper-local website focused on all aspects of parenting in and around Huntsville, AL, and the Tennessee Valley, Rocket City Mom occasionally asks local parents to submit their stories for publication. This is part of our continual effort to represent varied viewpoints and experiences on our site. However, these articles should not be seen as necessarily expressing the views of Rocket City Mom Media Group, LLC.