A nationwide consortium led by the National Institutes of Health on May 6 will launch the All of Us Research Program, a pioneering research project—one with participants as partners—that uses advanced technologies and engages participants as citizen-scientists to embark on a new era of health science and precision medicine.
LA JOLLA, CA—The Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) will head key aspects of the initiative, including integrating mobile health technologies into the research program, and leading the national Participant Center which manages the enrollment of direct volunteers—individuals who do not have access to a participating health care provider organization (HPO).
“All of Us represents a far-reaching initiative for what’s possible in medical research today and in the future—how each individual can generate useful data about their own health and what makes them tick,” says Eric Topol, MD, 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.”
All of Us 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—from genetics to exercise habits—impact a person’s health.
STSI will take the lead on integrating smartphone apps, wearable sensors and other mobile health devices into the research, providing real-time data on health metrics such as blood pressure, blood sugar levels, heart rate, heart rhythm and exercise and sleep patterns.
This data will combine with information on participants’ health history, genetics and other characteristics to provide 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, MD, director of digital medicine at STSI.
Individuals interested in joining the All of Us Research Program will be able to enroll online. 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. Some participants will also be asked to provide physical measurements and blood and urine samples through participating HPOs, or community-based clinic sites, like select Walgreens, Quest Diagnostics, QTC Medical Services, and blood bank locations.
In San Diego, participating HPOs include UC San Diego Health and San Ysidro Health. San Diego Blood Bank, part of the National Blood Collaborative, serves as a community-based clinic site.
“For over 60 years, San Diego Blood Bank has worked to ensure local hospitals and patient needs are met. All of Us is a wonderful opportunity for us to continue to lead the way to better health and wellness for our community and beyond,” said Dr. David Wellis, CEO of the San Diego Blood Bank. “We are pleased to expand the scope of our efforts in alignment with our mission to save lives today and improve life tomorrow.”
In addition to managing overall operations for direct volunteer enrollment, the team at STSI is tasked with designing and implementing strategies to keep diverse populations of participants engaged over the life of the program. The Participant Center will seek input from participants with a special focus on populations that have been historically underrepresented in biomedical research.
“These are early days for an ambitious program that we expect will last for at least 10 years,” says Katie Baca-Motes, who is the director of the Participant Center at STSI. “We’ve learned a tremendous amount to date, and will continue to adjust our outreach, enrollment and engagement strategies as we move forward and expand past national launch.”
Other partners in the Participant Center include Walgreens, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, DXC Technology, EMSI Health, Leidos-QTC, Montage Marketing, National Blood Collaborative, Fitbit, PicnicHealth, PatientsLikeMe, Qualcomm, Quest Diagnostics, Sage Bionetworks and WebMD.
For more information on the All of Us Research Program, visit JoinAllofUs.org.
“All of Us” is a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).