How Your DNA Could Change the Future of Health

The National Institute of Health's All of Us research program hopes to get 1 million volunteers over 10 years of touring

FARGO, N.D.– A National Institute is collecting volunteers’ DNA and lifestyle information.

The National Institute of Health’s All of Us research program hopes to get 1 million volunteers over 10 years of touring.

The group has been taking volunteers since last May, and already has more than 200,000 .

“I came mostly for the research part, to help,” said volunteer Russel Emerson. “Yes we will find something out about ourselves, but I really wanted to give my DNA and all the information so it would help further research on diseases and other genetic things for medical reasons.”

The goal of their research is to gather health information like genetics, lifestyle and environment from a variety of people to work towards precision medicine.

“I think it’s a good strategic approach on how they’re doing it, putting the three concepts together, and individualize your future medical care,” said volunteer Gregg Robbins.

“It’s very important for me to help out, not only the research program, but also because I’m a participant I now have a voice and that voice not only represents the United States but it represents my family, it represents my community,” said Francisco Huizar, Field Director for ‘All of Us’ Research Program.

According to the NIH, less than 10% of the U.S population participates in clinical studies.

This means that the health of those 10% of people is the basis for the other 90%.

“If you don’t have a voice in the research, then you don’t have a voice in the results,” added Huizar. “Therefore you’re not fully represented when it comes to how people are taken care of. What we would like to do is be as inclusive as possible, that’s the reason it’s called all of us, and we want the results from this particular research program to benefit everybody, all of us.”

Volunteers have many reasons for participating, whether it’s for their own health, someone they know or they just want to support the research.

“I’ve got a couple of autoimmune diseases that are rare,” said volunteer Judy Whittlesey. “Anything that I can do to further research into any disease is well worth my time.”

The information you provide could help researchers better understand health differences and improve health for future generations.

The next stop for the tour is the Alerus Center in Grand Forks Monday, June 17 through Friday, June 21.

Categories: Health, Local News, North Dakota News