17 Jul All of Us Research Program at UW-Madison joins the fight against COVID-19
Those who enrolled in the All of Us Research Program at the University of Wisconsin‒Madison and UW Health, now have the potential to directly impact the national fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), which oversees the nationwide program, recently announced that it is leveraging its diverse All of Us participant base to seek new insights into COVID-19 through antibody testing, a survey on the pandemic’s mental and physical impacts and analysis of electronic health record information provided by participants.
UW‒Madison, which is part of a Wisconsin consortium that includes Gundersen Health System, Marshfield Clinic and the Medical College of Wisconsin, has actively enrolled individuals in the Madison and Milwaukee areas since All of Us launched in May 2018. UW Health is a key partner for recruitment and enrollment efforts in Madison.
“This is an exciting opportunity for our participants to have a direct impact on COVID-19 research, watching how their participation in this historic effort is truly making a difference,” said Dr. Elizabeth Burnside, co-principal investigator, All of Us – UW‒Madison and a UW Health physician. “This focused initiative could be especially important for members of communities that are often underrepresented in health research and who may question the overall and personal benefit of research participation.”
To date, more than 271,000 people nationwide have participated and more than 50% of them represent racial and ethnic minorities.
“Given the incredibly disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on communities of color in Wisconsin, the All of Us Program has the potential to lend a far better understanding about what’s happening in communities hit so hard by the pandemic,” said Dr. Dorothy Farrar-Edwards, co-principal investigator, All of Us – UW‒Madison. “This program has an unprecedented opportunity at the national level to effect change and move toward a more equitable healthcare landscape for all of us.”
The All of Us Program will contribute to COVID-19 research in three primary areas:
All of Us will test blood samples from 10,000 or more participants who joined the program most recently, starting with samples from March 2020 and working backward until positive tests are no longer found. The tests will estimate the prevalence of novel coronavirus exposure among All of Us participants, and help researchers assess varying rates across regions and communities.
COVID-19 Participant Experience (COPE) Survey
All of Us has deployed a new online survey to better understand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on participants’ physical and mental health. This 20- to 30-minute survey is designed both for participants who have been ill with COVID-19 and those who have not, and includes questions on COVID-19 symptoms, stress, social distancing and economic impacts
Electronic Health Records
More than 200,000 participants have shared their electronic health records with the program so far showing a number of participants have either been diagnosed with COVID-19 or sought health care for related symptoms. The program is working to standardize EHR information to help researchers look for patterns and learn more about COVID-19 symptoms and associated health problems, as well as the effects of different medicines and treatments.
For more information about the All of Us program or to enroll, please visit JoinAllofUs.org/Wisconsin