News

Alabama Rural Health Association

 joins NIH in launching the All of Us Research Program to advance precision medicine

 

Enrollment set to open nationwide for historic research effort

 

On May 6, the National Institutes of Health will open national enrollment for the All of Us Research Program—a momentous effort to advance individualized prevention, treatment and care for people of all backgrounds—in collaboration with the Alabama Rural Health Association (ARHA) and other partners. People ages 18 and older, regardless of health status, will be able to enroll. The official launch date will be marked by community events in cities across the country as well as an online event. ARHA is a participant at an event at Railroad Park in Birmingham with a variety of engaging activities and speakers.

 

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 is to enroll 1 million or more volunteers and oversample communities that 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 1 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.”

 

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.  

 

ARHA President Farrell Turner stated “the ARHA supports better health and healthy lifestyles of all Alabamians, especially those in rural areas.  This project can help facilitate these changes.”

 

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.

 

NIH has funded more than 100 organizations throughout the U.S. to be partners in the program.  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).

 

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Gov. Bentley Unveils Alabama Health Care Improvement Task Force

MONTGOMERY – Governor Robert Bentley on Monday signed an executive order creating the Alabama Health Care Improvement Task Force.

“As Governor and a physician, the health of Alabamians is extremely important to me,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “Alabama faces serious problems with chronic conditions. Many of our health issues are related to lifestyle choices, poverty and access to quality health care. The Alabama Health Care Improvement Task Force will address options to improve the health of Alabamians, including strategies to have more-accessible and more-affordable health care in the state.”

The 38-member task force includes doctors, medical school leaders, hospital administrators, insurance executives, nurses, state agency leaders, legislators and other professionals in mental health, dietetics, dentistry, public health, pharmacy, wellness and other specialties. The group may suggest changes to state regulations and laws, and its initial recommendations to the Governor are due before the Legislature’s 2016 regular session begins. Potential focus areas include telemedicine, medical resources in rural areas and scope-of-practice laws for nurse practitioners and other professionals.

Governor Bentley appointed State Health Officer Don Williamson to chair the task force. The first meeting of the task force is scheduled for Wednesday, April 15, in the Old Archives Room at the State Capitol.

“I want to thank Governor Bentley for allowing me to participate in this important initiative,” State Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson said. “The task force provides an opportunity to develop comprehensive strategies to address critical health issues in Alabama, while strengthening rural healthcare infrastructure and improving access to care.” (Governor's Office Press Release)

 

READ THE PROCLAMATION AND SEE WHO THE TASK FORCE MEMBERS ARE