July 18, 2018

NIH awards $45 million to UAB to support All of Us

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The five-year funding award will support the Southern All of Us Network, part of the All of Us Research Program, a nationwide research program to transform how research is conducted to advance individualized prevention, treatment and care for people of all backgrounds.

all of us bus webThe All of Us Research Program aims to improve overall health and treat disease by encouraging the public to take an active role in steering the future of health research.The University of Alabama at Birmingham has received a $45 million, five-year funding award from the National Institutes of Health to support the Southern All of Us Network, part of the All of Us Research Program — a nationwide research program to advance individualized prevention, treatment and care for people of all backgrounds.

The UAB program is led by Bruce R. Korf, M.D., Ph.D., the School of Medicine’s chief genomics officer and Cora E. Lewis, M.D., chair of the Department of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health. Other UAB leaders involved in the effort include Mona Fouad, M.D., professor and director of UAB’s Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center; James J. Cimino, M.D., professor and director of UAB’s Informatics Institute; and Sara J. Knight, Ph.D., professor in the UAB Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive Medicine.

The All of Us Research Program aims to improve overall health and treat disease by encouraging the public to take an active role in steering the future of health research. UAB is the lead institution for the Southern All of Us Network, which aims to recruit 93,000 participants from Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. The national All of Us recruitment goal is 1 million people.

Alabamians age 19 or older, regardless of health status, are eligible to enroll in the program by visiting JoinAllofUs.org.

“UAB’s selection for this grant as well as our role as the lead institution for the Southern All of Us Network demonstrates the expertise we have as a leading research university and the capabilities we have as an institution around precision medicine,” said Selwyn Vickers, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine. “This is a proud moment for Alabama and the Deep South, including our partnering states of Mississippi and Louisiana. This is an opportunity for the residents of our state and region to contribute to medical breakthroughs that will lead to more tailored disease prevention and treatment solutions in the future.”

Precision medicine is an emerging approach to disease treatment and prevention that considers differences in people’s lifestyles, environments and biological makeup, including genes. The overall aim of All of Us is to enroll 1 million or more volunteers who share health information about themselves for many years. Volunteers representing communities that have historically been underrepresented in biomedical research also are sought to make All of Us the largest, most diverse resource of its kind — one that will enable research to more precisely prevent and treat a variety of health conditions.

As the leader for the Southern All of Us Network, UAB will direct the efforts of 11 universities and medical facilities in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

As the leader for the Southern All of Us Network, UAB will direct the efforts of 11 universities and medical facilities in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

“We are honored to be a part of building one of the largest databases of its kind for health research, and we are excited that the data will reflect the diversity of our region and nation,” Korf said. “All of Us will use the most advanced informatics and genomics approaches available to accelerate discoveries to benefit people from all backgrounds. It is our hope that, with the help of volunteers from Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, we will open new doors in the prevention and treatment of a host of diseases, some of which have plagued our population for decades.”

All of Us participants are asked to share different types of health and lifestyle information, including through online surveys and electronic health records, which will continue to be collected over the course of the program.

The NIH has partnered with more than 100 organizations throughout the United States.

“This is a call to action, and as the leading academic medical research center in the Deep South, we are equipped to answer it,” Lewis said. “The people of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana have a real opportunity to create better health outcomes for generations to come, not just here, but all over the country. We want the program to reflect the rich diversity of the Deep South and to maximize our opportunity to make a positive difference in the future of health care.”

Learn more about the program and how to join.

The Southern All of Us Network includes the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Cooper Green Mercy Health Services, Huntsville Hospital, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Tulane University, Tuskegee University, UAB School of Medicine’s Montgomery Internal Medicine and Selma Family Medicine programs, UAB School of Medicine’s Huntsville Regional Medical Campus, University of Mississippi Medical Center, University of South Alabama Health System, and University Medical Center in Tuscaloosa.

“All of Us” is a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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