All of Us - Precision Medicine Initiative
Published: February 2, 2018, at 2:07 p.m. PT
Last updated: August 20, 2019, at 5:31 p.m. PT
The YMCA of Greater Seattle, in partnership with the All of Us Research Program – Precision Medicine Initiative, is promoting health and wellness for all. The All of Us Research Program is promoting equity in health research by reaching people from all backgrounds, in order to reflect our country’s richly diverse population and ensure inclusivity in new healthcare advancements and improvements.
The All of Us Research Program is an effort by the National Institute of Health (NIH) to gather data from over one million people who live in the United States to help researchers understand more about why people get sick or stay healthy based on individual differences in lifestyle, environment, and biological make-up. The Y is partnering with the All of Us Research Program to address historical discrimination in the medical field and raise awareness around how our daily lived experiences influence the health of ourselves and our communities.
The program recently reached its one-year milestone on May 6, 2019. As of July, the program has enrolled more than 225,000 participants nationally, with 75% of them completing all the initial steps. While this is already revolutionary, a massive amount of progress remains yet to be made if we are to harness the true potential of this program.
The All of Us Research Program is unique in many ways. One of the most important differentiators of the program is its aim to have 75% of participants come from a community that has been historically underrepresented in biomedical research (UBR). Many groups, such as racial and ethnic minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community, have been included in research at a disproportionately low rate. As a result, the treatments that are born from the research are often tailored to an “average” that is actually not reflective of the rich diversity of the people within the U.S. Achieving these goals will require significant effort to build trust, overcome barriers, and work with participants as true partners in research. Despite these challenges, the program is exceeding its target goals for inclusion. In fact, 80% of currently enrolled participants come from historically underrepresented groups in biomedical research and 50% from different racial and ethnic backgrounds.
A set of core values is guiding the development and implementation of the All of Us Research Program:
- Participation is open to all
- Participants reflect the rich diversity of the U.S.
- Participants are partners
- Trust will be earned through transparency
- Participants have access to their information
- Data will be accessed broadly for research purposes
- Security and privacy will be of the highest importance
- The program will be a catalyst for positive change in research
The YMCA of Greater Seattle is raising awareness about the All of Us program through engaging our community, members and healthcare provider partners in learning about this program and providing information on how they can participate if they choose to enroll. As we reflect on our journey thus far with the All of Us Research Program, we’re excited about the work we’ve done to spread awareness and reach diverse populations that have been historically underrepresented in biomedical research. Over the past year and a half, we have shared information about the All of Us Research Program at numerous health fairs, community events, clinical meetings, and through social media. YMCA Community Health Liaisons – responsible for tailoring the Y’s disease prevention programming and other healthy living resources to the language and cultural contexts of their communities – have also found unique ways to share program information and explain how this research initiative could lift up the needs, concerns, and barriers of their communities to the larger health care field.
The YMCA of Greater Seattle has championed for the All of Us Research Program since its earliest stages. The program’s focus on health equity and inclusion aligns with our mission to help everyone reach their fullest potential in mind, body, and spirit. Ultimately, the All of Us Program is another way we can ensure that all of our communities are growing healthier, together.
Learn more about the All of Us Research Program here.