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The COVID-19 crisis has made us all more aware of the importance of medical research. Scientists are hard at work to discover better ways to test for, treat, and prevent the disease. We’re learning more about how the virus passes from person to person, and research has taught us about steps we can all take to slow its spread.
Because of our large, diverse group of participants from all over the United States, All of Us has a unique opportunity to contribute to COVID-19 research. We’ve created a new survey called the COVID-19 Participant Experience, or COPE, survey. The survey asks about people’s experiences during these difficult times. By taking the survey, you could help researchers learn more about how COVID-19 is affecting our health, wellbeing, daily lives, and communities. To get started, log in to your All of Us account or sign up today.
Health Research for Today… and Every Day
Health research like this affects our daily lives in lots of ways, even during more normal times. It helps us learn how to stay healthy. For example, years ago, studies found that high cholesterol, smoking, and high blood pressure raise people’s risk for heart disease. Knowing this, your doctor may have recommended that you exercise more, change how you eat, or quit smoking. Research also finds new ways to treat health problems, helping people to live longer, healthier lives. New treatments have helped lower death rates from conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and AIDS.
There’s still a lot we don’t know about how to stay healthy and how to treat health problems. And that’s where you—and All of Us—come in.
All of Us is building one of the world’s largest and most diverse databases for health research. We’re gathering data in many ways, including through surveys like the COPE survey. Scientists will be able to use the data to study all kinds of health questions, like why certain conditions affect some people more than others or how to treat chronic pain. We hope researchers will find better ways to keep people healthy and to treat health problems. And it all starts with our diverse group of participants. Thank you for sharing your data with us. Together, we’re working to build a healthier future for all of us.
When you joined the All of Us Research Program, you may have been invited to give a biosample (blood, urine, or saliva). But what happens to those samples after you provide them? And why are we collecting them?
The Lifecycle of a Sample
Each biosample goes on a long, secure, and valuable journey. If you give us a sample in person, its journey looks like this:
If you submit a saliva sample from home, your sample’s journey is very similar. All samples are treated with the same level of care and concern for your privacy.
What You Can Learn
We’re planning to start analyzing DNA this year. When we process your blood or saliva sample to look at the DNA, we can check it for information that may interest you. We’ll do this in a number of different rounds. To start, we’ll be able to give you information about genetic traits, such as whether cilantro tastes good to you and whether you can digest the lactose in milk. You’ll also be able to learn what your DNA may say about your ancestry (where your family comes from). Later, we plan to return health-related information such as whether you may have an increased risk of developing a serious health condition or how your body might react to certain medications.
There’s a lot to learn, but you get to decide whether you want us to send you the results. If you say yes, we’ll share your results in your participant portal when they are ready. We’ll also have genetic counselors who can help you understand what your results mean. If you want, you can then share any of these results with your health care provider.
What You Can Do Now
Even before DNA analysis begins, there are still lots of ways to learn more about your health and to stay involved with All of Us. You can log in to the participant portal and fill out surveys. You can review your own answers to previous surveys and learn more about how other people answered. If you have a Fitbit or an Apple Watch, you can sync it to share that data—an easy way to stay involved.
And, if you’ve given samples, you can choose whether you want your DNA results when they’re ready. To make your choice:
If you’ve been invited for an appointment but haven’t had it yet, hang in there! Our sites are not scheduling in-person appointments right now, but we will in the future.
For now, please keep in touch, and stay curious!
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has been an important resource for health and science information since 1836. Today, that information goes way beyond books. In partnership with the All of Us Research Program and through its National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) program and its MedlinePlus site, NLM continues to offers easy-to-understand information on tons of health topics. Materials include amazing tools, book clubs, tips, and even recipes. Below is just a sample of their great free offerings.
Information for All of Us Participants
Find trusted, understandable information from MedlinePlus on health topics related to the All of Us Research Program.
Citizen Science Resources
Locate an ‘Introduction to Citizen Science’ Module, and six projects that can be done while practicing social distancing.
NNLM Reading Book Clubs
Get materials here for hosting virtual book discussions, a guide for libraries, and links to other resources on mental health as we celebrate Mental Health Awareness in May 2020.
Videos & Tools
Watch health videos on topics such as anatomy, body systems, and surgical procedures. Test your knowledge with interactive tutorials and games. Check your health with calculators and quizzes.
Staying healthy can be a challenge, but simple lifestyle changes—such as eating healthy meals and being physically active—can help a lot. Research shows that these changes can help you maintain a healthy body weight and reduce the risk of chronic disease. These recipes show you how to prepare tasty, healthy meals that help you develop a healthy eating pattern.
Health Information in Multiple Languages
Browse information in multiple languages by health topic.
NIH MedlinePlus magazine provides updates on the latest breakthroughs from NIH-supported research. It also shares health tips and wellness overviews vetted by NIH experts. The magazine features people from all walks of life talking about how they've handled their health challenges. You can read the magazine online or subscribe for free to get it by mail.
For more information and resources, visit MedlinePlus.gov.
My Medical Minutes is a special email about health and health research specifically for All of Us participants. Every 2 weeks, you will receive an email from us covering current health information that’s relevant to All of Us and you. We hope that you enjoy this product. We also hope that My Medical Minutes will show you some of the amazing ways that research can help improve health and save lives.
PregSource® is a research project that aims to help NIH learn from individuals about what it’s like to be pregnant and experience motherhood.
If you are pregnant, joining PregSource® has several benefits. You will have access to resources on pregnancy. You’ll also be able to track your pregnancy while comparing your answers to those from other pregnant individuals across the country. By answering questions, you can help improve care for other pregnant individuals in the future.
# of participants who have completed the consent process
# of participants fully enrolled*
*Fully enrolled participants are those who have shared their health information with All of Us, including giving blood and urine or saliva samples.
Note: All of Us has paused in-person enrollment and other events to protect public health and limit the spread of COVID-19. You can still sign up and participate online at JoinAllofUs.org.
Did you see us? All of Us was featured in the new Ken Burns documentary The Gene: An Intimate History! To watch, check your local PBS station or visit PBS online.