We all want to live long, healthy lives. Health research can help us achieve that goal because it identifies ways to stay healthy and how best to prevent and treat disease.

The All of Us Research Program, a landmark initiative launched recently by the National Institutes of Health and partners, including APHA, will help to expand the evidence base and identify new ways to ensure health. The program seeks to enroll 1 million Americans to share health information so researchers can track what influences people’s health. The initiative will also oversample communities that have been underrepresented in research to make the program the largest, most diverse resource of its kind.

All_Of_Us_Logo_Color_ResearchProgram_052317“The time is now to transform how we conduct research — with participants as partners — to shed new light on how to stay healthy and manage disease in more personalized ways,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, in a news release. “This is what we can accomplish through All of Us.”

This emerging approach to disease prevention and treatment that is based on each individual is called precision medicine. It considers differences in people’s lifestyles, environments and biological makeup, including genes, to recommend the best way to stay healthy. By partnering with 1 million diverse people who share information about themselves over many years, the All of Us Research Program will enable research to more precisely prevent and treat a variety of health conditions.

“The public health community is excited to help launch this historic research program,” said APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD. “By expanding the evidence base to include people from underrepresented populations, we can create much more effective health interventions that ensure equity in our efforts to prevent disease and reduce premature death.”

“Local health departments are the community health strategists for their communities,” said Oscar Alleyne, DrPH, MPH, senior advisor for public health programs at the National Association of County and City Health Officials and an APHA member. “As such, they are positioned to advance current roles to prevent death, disease and disability; address emerging threats to health, security and equity; and eliminate the social and structural injustices that result in health disparities. What we will learn from the All of Us Research Program has great potential to benefit what we and local health departments do to improve population and community health.”

The All of Us Research Program launched on May 6 with events across the country to announce the goals and begin enrolling people in the program. A national 37-week bus tour, called the All of Us Journey, will bring a hands-on experience to build awareness and excitement about the program, which will accelerate research and improve health.

To learn more about the program and how to join, visit https://www.JoinAllofUs.org.