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All of Us Research Program Partners with National Library of Medicine

December 4, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The National Institute of Health’s (NIH) “All of Us” Research Program is partnering with the National Library of Medicine (NLM) to raise awareness about the program and improve participant access.

Through this collaboration, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine has received a $4.5 million award to support community engagement efforts by public libraries across the U.S. and to improve participant access. “We want to reach participants where they are. For many people in the country, including those with limited internet access, one of those places is the local library,” Eric Dishman, director of the All of Us Research Program, said in a statement. “We’re excited to work with the National Library of Medicine to make more people aware of All of Us and the opportunity to take part.”

  • This partnership is a three-year pilot program, with several objectives, according to an announcement:
  • To increase the capacity of public library staff to improve health literacy.
  • To equip public libraries with information about the All of Us Research Program to share with their local communities.
  • To assess the potential impact of libraries on participant enrollment and retention.
  • To highlight public libraries as a technology resource that participants can use to engage with the program, particularly those in underserved communities affected by the digital divide.
  • To establish an online platform for education and training about All of Us and precision medicine, with resources for members of the public, health professionals, librarians and researchers.
  • To help identify best practices in messaging and outreach that lead to increased public interest and engagement in the program

The All of Us Research Program, established by the White House in 2015, aims to build one of the largest, most diverse datasets of its kind for health research, with one million or more volunteers nationwide who will sign up to share their information over time. Researchers will be able to access participants’ de-identified information for a variety of studies to learn more about the biological, behavioral and environmental factors that influence health and disease. Their findings may lead to more individualized healthcare approaches in the future, according to officials.

“Libraries serve as vital community hubs, and this collaboration presents a perfect opportunity to help the public understand how health research impacts all of us,” Patricia Flatley Brennan, R.N., Ph.D., director of NLM, said. “Working with our vast network of public libraries, we hope to contribute to medical breakthroughs that may lead to more tailored disease prevention and treatment solutions for generations to come.”

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