Happy New Year! So many people save their gratitude for the end of the year, but we here at All of Us want to start off with a big Thank You. We appreciate your taking part in this program and being our partner as we speed up health research.
It can't be said enough. Participants like you are helping the All of Us Research Program build a big, diverse collection of health data. But we don't point out enough how we try to keep you informed. There's a graphic in each newsletter called All of Us By the Numbers. Have you ever looked at it closely?
The graphic keeps track of three groups — those who have consented to be in the program, people who are fully enrolled, and researchers. Consented means you've created an account and completed the initial consent to join the program. On the other end of the participation spectrum is fully enrolled. Fully enrolled is an idea that goes back to the start of our program. It is important for our goal of improving the future of health. It also means that you’re eligible to receive DNA results, if you also say “Yes” to the Consent to Get DNA Results when you're asked later.
Steps, Choices, and Activities
At the start of All of Us, we came up with the types of information we think will most help researchers make discoveries. We wanted to include information about biology, environment, and lifestyle, three key areas that affect our health. To do that, we created activities that help us learn more about them. Doing those activities will make you fully enrolled.
Those activities include:
- Agreeing to share your electronic health records,
- Completing our first three surveys, and
- Providing physical measurements and samples (blood or saliva, and urine).
Remember, as a participant, you get to choose how much you want to be involved. If you decide to offer as much of your health data as you can, you’ll probably end up being fully enrolled. If you decide you only want to share certain things, you’re still contributing to research.
Looking to the Future
You might think that a term like “fully enrolled” means you've done everything. Really, it's only the beginning. All of Us has grown since we started in 2018. We continue to add new activities that can paint a more complete picture of your health.
There are other activities you can complete that aren’t part of being fully enrolled. Those activities include sharing Fitbit data and answering new surveys about mental health and social factors in your life. They include activities that test how your brain works. It includes an opportunity to learn more about how nutrition affects our health. In the coming years, we’ll develop new ways for you to be part of the program’s work.
We might also ask you to do an activity again, to see if or how things have changed for you. We might ask you to donate another sample or give other measurements in the future. This kind of updated information helps researchers study if changes in your life cause changes in your health over time.
All of Us data has already led to exciting new discoveries. The information you’ve shared — whether you’re fully enrolled or not — is helping to create a healthier future for everyone. We’re so grateful for your participation. And we’re excited to continue our partnership and provide new ways to improve health and research.