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Spectrum Health participating in NIH's All of Us Research Program

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Personalizing the management of disease is the goal of National Institutes of Health and partners like Grand Rapids’ Spectrum Health. In its beta test year, NIH has enrolled more than 25,000 underrepresented individuals from across the country into its All of Us Research Program. It aims to enroll another one million in the coming years. The research aims to improve health outcomes.

Spectrum Health has enrolled 1,200 individuals so far into the NIH’s All of Us Research Program. In a news release from partner Spectrum Health it reads, “The overall aim is to enroll one 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.”

“We want to understand the differences of individuals and create predictive strategies so that we can mitigate some of those downstream things such as illness, cancer.”

Dave Chesla is Director of Research operations at Spectrum Health.

“Caucasian males are usually what’s represented in research whether that’s due to, you know again, access to care or socio-economics, geography. Being intentional about diversity and choosing diversity to not only mean ethnicity or gender but socio-economics, geography, urban versus rural, lifestyle, that’s very important. That’ll give us a more comprehensive picture and create a bigger platform for future research studies to really interrogate those differences.”

Researchers call it precision medicine.

“Base that information that they report to us. What they may ultimately come down with or why they may chose a path that genomically tells us that they should have a higher likelihood of recurring a disease but ultimately they don’t because their choice. I think that the epidemiology and the behavioral health piece is very key here.”

Participants will take surveys and share health and lifestyle information. This will be available to them through personal portals.

The All of Us Research Program officially launches nationwide Sunday, May 6th.

Patrick Center, WGVU News.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.
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