The Capital Times recently put the spotlight on the All of Us project, which is being spearheaded by our very own Dorothy Farrar Edwards.

Dorothy Farrar Edwards

Dr. Farrar Edwards is the director of the Collaborative Center for Health Equity and a principal investigator behind the All of Us initiative.

As the project takes off, The Capital Times reports how All of Us staffers are appearing all across town to convince the Madison public to take part in this ambitious medical research initiative.

Alongside the Medical College of Wisconsin and the Marshfield Clinic, UW-Madison is leading a statewide effort to help the National Institutes of Health (NIH) build a national biomedical database of unprecedented depth and scope. This platform could lead to more answers about health and disease, and help clinicians develop a personalized treatment.

Some people sign up for an altruistic reason, while some have a personal concern. Dr. Farrar Edwards, whose family has a history of heart problems, shares her own reason for taking part in All of Us, telling The Capital Times that “I want to know, what is it about my family that puts them at such risk? I have four children, and grandchildren. I want them to know…why is heart disease such a prominent problem?”

According to the report, compiling a database like this one would drive advances in precision medical care based on an individual patient’s identity, lifestyle, and/or genetics.

To take part in All of Us, participants agree to share their electronic medical records on an ongoing basis, answer some questionnaires, and provide a blood and urine sample. All of this allows the NIH to create a database with information on demography, genetics, medical history, and even environmental information.

Farrar Edwards reports that a major focus of the recruitment effort is ensuring the representation of groups historically missing in medical data such as people from rural areas, people of color, and people with disabilities.

Read the full story on this web page, and learn more about All of Us here.