The All of Us Research Program University of Arizona-Banner Health will reach a significant milestone when it enrolls its 50,000th participant this month. To honor the participants and encourage involvement in health research, Gov. Doug Ducey proclaimed March “Arizonans in Health Research Month.”
"Many of the country's top health research facilities and research institutions reside in Arizona and produce cutting-edge research that is essential to saving lives," Gov. Ducey said. "The work of the University of Arizona-Banner Health All of Us Research Program is a great example of the vital work taking place to help our citizens. We appreciate the work of all Arizonans who participate in health research and the scientists who are advancing the industry in our state."
An initiative of the National Institutes of Health, the All of Us Research Program, led by the University of Arizona Health Sciences and Banner Health in Arizona and Colorado, aims to build one of the largest and most diverse databases of health information of its kind. This national resource may help accelerate health research as researchers can use the data to study thousands of diseases. All of Us UArizona-Banner leads the nation in enrollment in this important health initiative.
“We are extremely grateful to our research participants and our University of Arizona Health Sciences, Banner and community colleagues for their contributions to this important program,” said Eric Reiman, MD, CEO of Banner Research and one of the program’s principal investigators. “Together, we have begun to provide a shared resource of protected health data and biological samples to help find the right treatments for the right people at the right time, including those from historically underrepresented groups.”
Nationwide, more than 320,000 people have joined the All of Us Research Program. The participants reflect the rich diversity of the United States, with 50% from racial and ethnic communities that have traditionally been underrepresented in health research. Approximately 50,000 of those participants come from Arizona.
“I am so proud of the Arizona All of Us team for achieving this amazing and outstanding milestone,” said Monica Kraft, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine at the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson and contact principal investigator for All of Us UArizona-Banner. “That so many participants are from diverse backgrounds speaks volumes about their interest and commitment to health-related research, not just for themselves but for our community and country. The state of Arizona has been and will continue to be a major contributor to the All of Us effort, which will provide a foundation to understand genetic origins of disease for years to come.”
Once a participant is enrolled, personal details from the data that could identify participants are removed before their information is made available for researchers to study. There are currently more than 1,100 studies being conducted using All of Us data.
"The All of Us database will be invaluable for the scientific community moving forward,” said Jason Karnes, PharmD, PhD, BCPS, FAHA, associate professor of pharmacy practice and science in the UArizona R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy and director of scientific programs for All of Us UArizona-Banner. “All of Us is a resource at the forefront of genetic research. It has the potential to accelerate discoveries and is likely to lead to more tailored medical approaches in the future. A wealth of data from hospital records, from the human genome and from participants themselves is just waiting to be investigated. Unlike much research in the past, All of Us reflects the rich diversity of the United States, which is critical to ensure all groups benefit from future scientific discoveries.”
Researchers are studying how factors like genetics, environment and lifestyle affect the way in which diseases and medications impact individuals. Study topics include heart health, hypertension, cancer, mental health and more. In Arizona, there are more than 40 researchers conducting studies on everything from how sociocultural factors impact health disparities to risks and consequences of Valley fever to predictors of endometriosis.
In the future, these studies could lead to new health discoveries and improve health for generations to come.
The next health discovery could come from Arizona.