CCHS attends All of Us regional meeting

October 31, 2023

The College of Community Health Sciences is part of a nationwide network of academic and health-care institutions implementing the National Institute of Health’s All of Us Research Program, an effort to advance research into precision medicine.

The College, through its University Medical Center, is an awardee of a part of the program known as the Southern All of Us Network. The network held a regional meeting in Jackson, Miss., in October that was attended by Drs. John C. Higginbotham and Tom Weida, who are coordinating the College’s All of Us efforts, and Susan Page, proposal development administrator and grant writer for CCHS.

Higginbotham is director of the College’s Institute for Rural Health Research and Weida is UMC’s chief medical officer.

During the regional meeting, there were presentations, recruitment workshops and discussion of plans for the Southern Network to be effective through 2029.

The overall All of Us project seeks to enroll one million individuals living in the United States and gather their health information and other data over time, with the ultimate goal of accelerating research and improving health. Researchers will use the data for studies on a variety of health conditions to learn more about the impact of individual differences in lifestyle, environment and biological makeup and to find effective ways to deliver precision medicine.

According to the NIH, precision medicine is “an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment and lifestyle.” This approach allows doctors and researchers to predict more accurately which treatment and prevention strategies for a particular disease will work in which groups of people, in contrast to a one-size-fits-all approach with treatment and prevention strategies developed for the average person with less consideration for individual differences.

According to the NIH, All of Us participants will extend the geographic coverage of the program and strengthen its reach within underserved communities, including lower-income, Hispanic and Latino, African-American, rural and American Indian communities.

Southern All of Us Network: University of Alabama at Birmingham; 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 The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences/University Medical Center, Tuscaloosa, Ala.