A new medical research program called “All of Us” reached the corners of TAMU-CC to improve the ways modern medicine can help future patients. They visited the campus on Jan. 22 and on Jan. 23 in front of the Islander Dining Hall, collecting blood samples while also informing students about health.
“We are changing the future of health,” said the field director of ALL of US, Steve Curran. “We are doing that by introducing everyone to precision medicine, which is treating people individually as opposed to one size fits all. We travel the country going to underrepresented communities — underrepresented in medical research.
“Females are 51% of the population, yet underrepresented in medical research,” continued Curran, “and if you’re a female in an ethnic diversity then that (percentage) drops down even more.”
Essentially, the technique the program utilizes, precision medicine, is formatted so that when they collect your physical sample, they also take into account your family’s health history, your ethnicity, where you live and even what you do for a living.
The process is simple: The participants share their data with a trusted instructor who will collect their blood, urine, physical measurements and other necessary health records and surveys. It is also stated in their pamphlet that the samples collected are stored in a biobank without any names, as to insure ethical standards. The researchers will then study the data. After a while, participants will receive critical information that can help them know more about their health.
“We are building a data set of over a million people from all walks of life, from all diversities,” said Curran. “It is a 100% inclusive. So, when you go to the doctor, they will be able to treat you individually as opposed to based on other people’s information, and have to adjust it just for you. …
“This way they are going to be able to treat you individual-based on your genetic background. This information is going to be a dataset for researchers all around the world.”
It is free to participate in the research. This includes all eligible people over the age of 18. The program will last approximately ten years, allowing participants to be involved as little or as much as they like. They also have the option to stop partaking in the program any time they wish.
The program is always welcoming new participants with open hands, helping them in any way they can throughout the whole process. For those interested in getting involved, make sure to visit the “All of Us” Research Program website at https://allofus.nih.gov/.