GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — In 2018 the National Institutes of Health opened national enrollment for the All of Us Research Program—a massive effort to advance individualized prevention, treatment, and care for people of all backgrounds. It's being done in collaboration with Spectrum Health and other clinical partners throughout the nation. People ages 18 and older, regardless of their health status, can enroll in the program. Dave Chesla is Spectrum Health Director of Research Operations and he joined us to talk more about the goals of the project.

Chesla explained that the All of Us Research Program is a historic effort to collect and study data over many years from one million or more people living in the United States.  The goal of the program is to speed up health research breakthroughs, enabling new kinds of individualized health care. The program began national enrollment in 2018 and is expected to last at least 10 years and create one of the world’s largest and most diverse databases for health research.  By working with participants across the country collecting many types of information over time, and building a data platform that many researchers can use, All of Us may also shape how people do research in the future.

Unlike research studies that focus on one disease or group of people, All of Us is building a database that can inform thousands of studies on a variety of important health questions. For example, researchers have found success in using precision medicine to treat certain types of cancers. All of Us seeks to extend that success to many other diseases. 

Importantly, All of Us may enable research focused not only on treating disease but also on ways to be healthier.

If you decide to join All of Us, you will be asked to share different kinds of information over time, including:

  • Basic information like your name and where you live
  • Your health, family, home, and work. 
  • If you have an electronic health record, we may ask for access.
  • At a free medical appointment, we measure your weight, height, hips, and waist, as well as your blood pressure and heart rate. 
  • We might ask you to give samples, such as blood or urine, at the appointment.

All information gathered during the enrollment process and the study will be kept strictly confidential.  To participate, go to www.joinallofus.org.  Review the "Get Started" steps and when you are ready there is a "Ready to Sign Up" button.  If you have any questions please call toll-free, 1-833-564-6255 or email AllofUs@spectrumhealth.org  Everyone who enrolls will receive a $25 Meijer gift card.

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