The All of Us Research Program is developing one of the largest and most diverse health and medical datasets available.
Launched in 2018, the program now has over 770,000 participants, with about 80% from underrepresented groups. Nearly half of people who have signed up are from racial and ethnic minority groups.
Medical research in the U.S. has tended to neglect underrepresented populations, typically focusing on people of European ancestry. This lack of diversity has led to a "one size fits all" approach in health care, where the needs of minority groups fall through the cracks. 
The All of Us Research Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, is a corrective to that approach. AOU participants provide medical information to ultimately improve health outcomes and ways of preventing and treating chronic illnesses and diseases for millions of people. The program upholds precision medicine, which is about treating individuals based on their unique diversity and medical history. It recognizes that different lifestyles, environments, biologies, cultures, races and ethnicities require a personalized approach to health care. Woman wearing head scarf smiles at camera
AOU uses advances in genomics, methods to manage and analyze large datasets, and health information technology to improve biomedical discoveries for all people.
High participation of underrepresented groups is due to AOU’s community partners across America. These groups increase awareness and educate the public about the program. Partners include regional medical centers, federally qualified health care centers and the Veterans Administration.
As of mid-March, over 9,700 research projects were registered on the AOU’s Researcher Workbench. Studies coming out of the dataset are helping broaden health and medical understanding of diverse populations. Researchers are exploring why Black people have a higher mortality rate for heart disease than white people, for example, and why LGBTQ+ people experience higher rates of depression, with focus on developing programs and interventions to address this. 
AOU participants are also learning about their own health, including information about their genetic ancestry. And a host of safeguards have been created to make sure the AOU data is stored reliably and participants’ identities are protected. 

AOU and APHA have been partners for six years, and part of that involves APHA Affiliates, which promote AOU. Public health associations in Texas, Ohio, Wisconsin, Nevada, North Carolina and Virginia are educating their members and communities about the program and the importance of precision medicine. Working with these state and regional public health associations enables more communities nationwide to be included in the dataset and its transformative studies.
If you are interested in learning more about the All of Us Research Program, National Public Health Week is your chance to do so. Mark your calendars for Thursday, April 4 from 5-6 p.m. ET for a free virtual discussion about the free tools available to emerging researchers who want to dig into the All of Us data, and the benefits that research can have for communities. Attendees will receive free continuing education credit. Registration is now available.
Arianne Noorestani is APHA’s Affiliate manager.

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