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How The All of Us Research is Restoring Trust and Bringing A Much-Needed Diversity to Medical Research

How The All of Us Research is Restoring Trust and Bringing A Much-Needed Diversity to Medical Research

Did you know that the majority of research studies conducted in the United States are predominantly based on groups of white male participants? Color me unsurprised. While this fact is definitely worthy of an eye roll, it also has serious implications for the effectiveness of treatments and medications given to people from all walks of life who don’t necessarily fit the mold.

The All of Us Research Program was launched in May 2018 with the goal of tailoring medical care to the needs of the individual. Funded by the U.S. government through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the study aims to gather data from Americans of all backgrounds in order to provide a hub for future research acknowledging the different factors that influence individual health.

A large, government-funded research study that seeks to collect data from a million Americans by 2020 could be cause for suspicion among members of black communities, who have a well-founded historical distrust of the medical system. We’ve turned to Dr. Edith Mitchell, professor of medical oncology at Thomas Jefferson University and a National Medical Association board member, for insight into the program.

Radiant Health: What is the goal of the All of Us Research Program?

Dr. Edith Mitchell: There has never been a study like the All of Us Research Program conducted in the U.S. or by the National Institutes of Health. This program is needed, because when you look at medical research, many studies now are being designed according to precision medicine. What that means is that there is no one-shoe-fits-all approach to disease. This is really a way of expanding precision medicine, in that the research and the healthcare delivery that will be developed based on this study will be designed and based on the individual patient.