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All of Us Research Program Awards $8.7M to Community Partners

NEW YORK – The National Institutes of Health All of Us Research Program has awarded $8.7 million to seven national community partners, the agency said on Thursday.

The funding aims to help recruit people from traditionally underrepresented communities in biomedical research to the program through enhanced engagement, outreach, enrollment, and retention strategies and tactics.

The program disbursed the funds to the American Association on Health and Disability, the Asian Health Coalition, FiftyForward, the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, the National Baptist Convention USA, Stanford University, and Baylor College of Medicine.

These institutions will build community organization networks and promote enrollment and recruitment through All of US healthcare provider organizations, as well as engage with researchers from underrepresented communities.

The NIH program seeks at least 1 million participants to build the nation's most diverse population health database. Over 400,000 individuals have enrolled to date, including more than 292,000 who have completed the program's initial steps.

Approximately 80 percent of these participants come from communities historically underrepresented in biomedical research. These include racial and ethnic minorities, sexual and gender minorities, and residents of rural areas, among others.

The program, which began enrolling in 2018, returned some non-clinical genetic results to participants last year. It also received an investigational device exemption from the US Food and Drug Administration, allowing it to return disease risk findings related to the so-called ACMG-59 genes as well as certain other pharmacogenetic results.

"Our community engagement partners provide crucial support to help deliver on the promise of All of Us,” Josh Denny, CEO of the All of Us Research Program, said in a statement.

"Through their continued commitment to the program," he added, "they fortify our network of trusted community organizations, provide a vital sounding board to shape our activities and direction, lend their expertise to overcome communities’ distrust of research, motivate diverse communities to enroll and remain engaged with our program, and support diverse researchers doing research in All of Us."