By Mark Lizano, Feb. 9, 2021
Cal Poly Pomona was selected as one of five campuses to launch the All of Us Research Program at the collegiate level. The All of Us program, which is in its second semester at CPP, is an effort by the National Institutes of Health to provide precision medicine. It caters health care based on that patients’ individual needs through extensive research.
CPP was selected along with Albian College, Texas Southern University, Florida International University and the University of Louisville because they cover wide demographics in regard to race, location and the number of students who attend the school.
Precision medicine is an approach to patient care that allows doctors to select treatments based on a genetic understanding of patients’ ailments. Health information is provided to the NIH for research.
The CPP All of Us program is led by two project managers and two student ambassadors.
Elizabeth Fleener, a student ambassador and fifth-year biology student, was already a peer health educator and had experience with the Wellness Center before taking on this role with the program. As a woman of color living with lupus, medical research and a well-rounded health care system are fundamental to Fleener.
“Women, especially people of color have a harder time getting health care it’s really important to me that we get more diversity within the health care system,” Fleener said.
Carla Jackson, one of the project managers, was already working for the CPP Bronco Wellness Center before accepting the position and explained the use of the precision medicine approach.
“COVID-19 is a perfect example. If we had more genetic information from a more diverse cross-section of our population, we might have been better able to foresee which people would be greater affected by COVID-19,” Jackson said.
The program collects data through questions regarding work, family and home life. However, researchers can also request that a participant provide a blood or urine sample and request that a physical appointment be scheduled where things like height, weight, heart rate and blood pressure are measured.
To promote the All of Us program within the campus community, project leaders have created take-home programs that create a step-by-step process explaining how to sign up for the program, according to Kenya Quintel Rampersant, one of the project managers in charge of outreach.
“I’m really finding ways to spread awareness about the All of Us program, reaching out to student groups or reaching out to faculty and staff, helping to create a workshop or a write-up about All of Us so we’re able to spread awareness to our students,” Rampersant said.
Participation is open to the public, anyone can join or leave at any time. It’s strongly preferred they stay, so that those examining the research can gain a better understanding of the information over time. Young people are who the program seeks, yet younger people are what the program has lacked. The information from young people is far more beneficial because they change dramatically over a 10-year period.
For more information about the program, visit www.JoinAllofUs.org/students.
Feature image courtesy of Carla Jackson.
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