NewsOne Research Program Is Working to Tailor Your Health Treatments to You

Posted Dec 07, 2022

At Green City Market, we know that good food is important for good health, but did you know that other social determinants of health (SDOH) show us that things outside of our control impact our health? All of Us, a 2022 GCM Sponsor, is a research program from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) studying this very thing. Keep reading to learn more about All of Us and the work they are doing.

At the moment, health care is often one-size-fits-all. But imagine a future where your health treatments are tailored to you. This is called precision medicine. And we can help make that future possible. All of Us is a research program from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It is the largest and most inclusive health research initiative of its kind. The mission of All of Us is simple: We want to speed up health research. To do this, we’re asking one million or more people to share their unique health data. This information will be added to a database. Researchers can then access this data to conduct thousands of studies on health and disease. The program will be open to people both healthy and sick, from all communities, with an emphasis on including those who have been historically underrepresented in research. 

Unlike a single research study focused on a specific disease or population, All of Us will serve as a national resource for thousands of studies, covering a wide variety of health conditions. By taking into account individual differences in lifestyle, environment, and biology, researchers will have the information to better understand health and disease. The more we know about what makes people unique, the more customized health care can become. The health data All of Us participants are sharing is really making a difference! More than 550,455 enrolled participants have shared data with the All of Us Research Program. You can go to our Research Projects Directory to see a list of all the research that is already being done. 

People who join will give All of Us information about their health, habits, what it’s like where they live, and if they will want information about their DNA. By looking for patterns in this information, researchers may learn more about what affects people’s health. Genomic Health-related DNA results from All of Us will include two reports: A report with information about your risk for certain hereditary health conditions (Hereditary Disease Risk Report); and a report with information about how certain genes may affect how your body processes certain medicines (Medicine and Your DNA Report). 

If participants want to see their Hereditary Disease Risk report, All of Us will check their DNA for several genes that are associated with serious health conditions. You can find a full list of these genes on our Hereditary Risk Disease website. All of these conditions have treatment or prevention options. If you are at a higher risk for them, knowing that information can be important for your health.  

If a participant's DNA results show they may have a higher genetic risk for developing a health condition, it does not mean that they will definitely get it in their lifetime. It also does not mean that they have it now. It means that they have a higher chance of getting a certain health condition than the average person. Similarly, if a participant does not have genetic variants in the genes we will look at, they may still develop a serious health condition in the future

Everyone metabolizes, or processes, medicine a bit differently. For example, do you prefer one type of pain reliever because you think it works better for you? That may be partially because of your DNA. Some genetic variants cause your body to process medicine more slowly than the average person. This may mean that you need less of a medicine or that it stays in your body longer. Other variants cause your body to process medicine faster. That may mean you need a larger dose or that it leaves your body faster.

All of Us can give participants a report on some of the genes that are known to affect how the body processes medicine. You can find a full list of these genes on our website here. For each gene, All of Us will let participants know which variant type they have and what that means. All of Us will also include a list of medicines that may be affected by their genetics. Participants can download Your Medicine and Your DNA report from their All of Us account and share it with their doctor or health care provider. Participants may decide to do further testing to determine how these genes might impact your health. 

All of Us takes participant privacy very seriously. We use the latest technology to help keep your data private and safe. When you provide personal information, your name and other direct identifiers will be removed and replaced with a unique code. The All of Us Research Program will take great care in deciding who can use your information. To access your information, researchers must explain what they plan to do, what they hope to learn, and why their study would be useful. Only researchers approved by the All of Us Research Program will be allowed to see data from individual participants. Researchers who can see individual participant data will not be able to see names or other information that could identify someone directly. These researchers will have to go through training. They must sign a code of conduct agreeing to respect the All of Us Research Program values and rules. They will have to promise not to try to find out who any of the people participating in the All of Us Research Program are.  

When participants join, they will be led through three consent forms that ask for their consent to participate in the program, their consent to share their Electronic Health Records (EHRs), and their consent to receive their DNA results. They are then led through surveys that ask for data like where they live, what their lifestyle is like, and their medical history. To complete enrollment, program staff ask for biosamples in the form of saliva or blood and urine. After completing these steps, participants will receive a $25 gift card. Participants may opt-out at any time. Ideally, participants will be our partners for 10 years or more and help create the largest and most diverse research program of its kind. 

The All of Us Research Program has three participant center locations at Northwestern. They are located at Galter Pavilion, Delnor Hospital, and Grayslake Outpatient Center. To schedule an in-person appointment at any of these locations click here. If you have any questions, you can call us at (312) 695-6077 or email us at to connect with one of our staff members. To get started or request more information visit our site.

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