A regional health system is taking part in a national health study and is asking for West Michigan residents to enroll.
Corewell Health has enrolled its 10,000th participant in the All of Us Research Program, a study gathering health data from 1 million people in the U.S.
All of Us is the largest study of its kind in the U.S., focusing on how lifestyle, environment and biology intersect to affect human health.
Participation of West Michigan residents is helping the study reach the target of 1 million participants. Corewell Health is one of several health care organizations across the country supporting the program, which is run by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
In 2017, the NIH opened national enrollment for the All of Us Research Program — an effort to advance individualized prevention, treatment and care for people of all backgrounds. 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 program is part of a new era of research in which scientists, physicians, community partners and the public work together to enhance broad representation and co-create individualized strategies to promote health and interrogate disease at the population level,” said Dave Chesla, senior director of research operations at Corewell Health. “Unlike other research studies focused on a specific health issue, All of Us is collecting biological samples as well as health and lifestyle data that can provide information for a wide range of studies for decades to come.”
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 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.
“What makes this program unique is that the participants are our partners,” Chesla said. “Not only can you participate, but there is a bidirectional flow of information that differentiates this program. As a participant, I am able to go online through my participant portal, see my information and also glean new information about myself. It is very uncommon to have this level of transparency.”
Not only is Corewell enrolling participants, the health care system is also involved itself, as leaders take part in the program. Chesla and Dr. Brian Lane, a Corewell urologist and researcher, are participants in the study.
“As a participant, you can provide your genetic material and be a volunteer, but if you are even more motivated you can become a citizen scientist,” Lane said. “You can be an active participant in your own health and contribute information that can help generations to come.”
Enrollment for participants is open to those age 18 and older and living in the U.S.