Recently I received an invitation to participate in the All of Us national research project. The aim of the All of Us Research Program is to collect data from a million people over the next ten years or so.
I encourage you to participate in this wide-ranging research. As a participant in All of Us you would be contributing to a better understanding of how people stay healthy and how they become sick.
The All of Us project started about a year ago with funding from the National Institutes of Health. So far almost a quarter of a million people have signed up to help. The participants, adults over 18, come from all walks of life.
As family caregivers the day-to-day responsibilities can mean it is hard to think, much less do, something for “the larger good.” You no doubt know that most older people have to manage multiple chronic illnesses. A better understanding about these illnesses and how they emerge could lead to better medical care for you and members of your family.
By participating in All of Us research you can be drawn away from your day-to-day concerns and encouraged to think about the future. You will help others by contributing in small ways to this massive research project. We know from psychological research that participation in something like this is a way to stave off burnout in your caregiving role.
Medical research takes many years to go from a researchers idea to results that can be used to improve health and how medical care is provided. By having access to health data from so many people, researchers hope to move research along more quickly. With more information from more people they hope to learn more about what affects people’s health. They want to find better tests to identify illness and the risk for illness. They want to learn how to encourage healthy habits. And they want to have better information to determine which medications are better for different people in different circumstances.
Researchers from all over the world who are connected with the All of Us Program will have access to the data accumulated from people of all ages, living all over the United States. The data will be available only in statistical format; individual participants in the research will not be identified in the database.
University and medical research programs from across the country are working with the National Institutes for Health to implement this vast project. There is probably a program partner near you.
It can be helpful and exciting to be part of something bigger than oneself. All of Us Research will only work if many people decide to join. I signed up and you probably can, too. You can read more about the All of Us project at joinallofus.org.