Providers awarded $13.8M to recruit PMI cohort participants

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The National Institutes of Health has awarded $13.8 million to three groups of healthcare providers to help enroll participants in a landmark study designed to create one of the world’s largest and most diverse datasets for precision medicine research.

In addition to enrolling volunteers in the Precision Medicine Initiative’s All of Us national cohort of 1 million Americans, these provider organizations will gather participant health information as well as attempt to retain individuals in the research program through ongoing engagement efforts.

Participants in the study will contribute their physical, genomic and electronic health record data to improve the ability to prevent and treat disease based on individual differences in lifestyle, environment and genetics. Besides providing blood and urine samples as well as access to EHRs, the providers will collect information from volunteers in the program through mobile technology and surveys.

Also See: Participant Center taking shape for PMI cohort

The three provider groups receiving awards—two based in the South and one in the Midwest—are joining a growing network of medical centers from around the country who will be working to recruit participants for the longitudinal study.

In particular, NIH is looking to recruit volunteers for the cohort from underserved populations, including lower-income, Hispanic and Latino, African American, American Indian and rural communities.

“We want this program to reflect the rich diversity of our country,” said Eric Dishman, director of NIH’s All of Us research program. “Expanding our national network of healthcare provider organizations enhances our ability to reach communities traditionally underrepresented in medical research. Working with participants across the country, we hope to contribute to medical breakthroughs that may lead to more tailored disease prevention and treatment solutions in the future.”

The three provider groups receiving the awards include:

  • Southern All of Us Network—University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB); Cooper Green Mercy Hospital, Birmingham, Ala.; Huntsville Hospital, Ala.; Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans; Tulane Medical Center, New Orleans; Tuskegee University, Ala.; UAB Hospital, Birmingham, Ala.; UAB School of Medicine’s Montgomery Internal Medicine and Selma Family Medicine programs, Birmingham, Ala.; University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson; University of South Alabama Health System, Mobile; and University Medical Center, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
  • SouthEast Enrollment Center—University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Fla.; Emory University, Atlanta; Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta; and the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium led by the University of Florida in Gainesville.
  • All of Us, Wisconsin—Marshfield Clinic Research Institute; BloodCenter of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison.

The All of Us program, which is currently in beta testing, is leveraging a national network of provider organizations including regional medical centers, community health centers, and Department of Veterans Affairs’ medical centers.

NIH announced in June that it had begun enrolling the program’s first participants as beta testers and that the agency was “starting small with enrollment and scaling up carefully” from one site to more than 100 sites nationally during the beta phase. Currently, enrollment in the program is by invitation only.

“Our partners will begin testing on a staggered schedule through early fall, each enrolling a handful of participants a day to start, and inviting more when ready—eventually totaling at least 10,000 people across the country,” according to NIH.

Ultimately, the agency has set an ambitious goal of recruiting 1 million U.S. volunteers and hopes to continue to enroll participants well beyond that level.

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