Wisconsin researchers awarded $5.3 million for NIH precision medicine research

All of Us Research Program gathering biomedical data from one million people to advance medical treatments and prevention

A collaboration of three Wisconsin regional healthcare systems has been awarded $5.3 million to implement the NIH All of Us research program in Wisconsin with the goal of improving health in communities statewide.

Working with BloodCenter of Wisconsin and regional Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), Marshfield Clinic Research Institute (MCRI), UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health (UW SMPH), and Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) will form a virtual statewide network to promote engagement and recruitment of Wisconsin research participants. The nationwide goal of the program is to gather health data from more than 1 million people living in the U.S. to advance precision medicine research. Dorothy Edwards, UW-Madison Collaborative Center for Health Equity (CCHE) director, comments,

Dorothy Edwards

Diseases are unique to the individual, so our aim in Wisconsin is to enroll participants who reflect the diversity of our country, providing insight to differences based on age, gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomics. The All of Us research program is an exciting opportunity for participants to play an active role in modern medicine for the benefit of their communities.

Precision medicine, also known as personalized medicine, approaches disease treatment and prevention with consideration for an individual’s biological makeup, environment, and lifestyle to help improve the treatment of diseases, such as cancer.

Murray Brilliant, director of the MCRI Center for Human Genetics, led the formation of the All of Us-Wisconsin team. Brilliant took advantage of ongoing partnerships between MCRI, UW SMPH, and MCW represented by their common membership in the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program and the Wisconsin Genome Initiative. He says,

Murray Brilliant
Murray Brilliant

Our organizations have a long history of research collaboration and robust community engagement, and we’re proud to be involved in a program focused on a future where better prevention, detection, and treatment are possible through research.

Brilliant recruited local leaders at the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR). These principal investigators for the SMPH site include Edwards and Marc Drezner, ICTR Executive Director. In addition, Umberto Tachinardi, SMPH Associate Dean of Medical Informatics and ICTR Director of Biomedical Informatics, was tapped to play a key role related to the transfer of EHR to a central All of Us repository.

This dynamic All of Us-Wisconsin team harnesses the strengths of UW including the biomedical informatics initiatives championed by UW ICTR and SMPH that have bolstered ties with UW Health and its data warehouse of patient electronic health records. Likewise, CCHE brings an array of successful programming in community engagement with members of underrepresented populations through a broad range of academic and community partners statewide. Drezner notes,

Marc Drezner

All of Us Wisconsin aims to build upon UW researchers’ innovative work in precision medicine to treat cancer to expand the approach to other diseases. We plan to leverage our existing partnerships with Marshfield Clinic, UW Health, and the UW Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, utilizing sound research and community engagement practices, to help lay a comprehensive foundation for precision medicine.

To learn more about the All of Us research program

To read the complete project abstract

To read the official press release