Henry Ford Health and MSU continue groundbreaking medical research initiative

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Michiganders will continue to have the opportunity to advance medical research aimed at advancing individualized health care through a renewed award to Henry Ford Health + Michigan State University Health Sciences from the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) All of Us Research Program. The award includes $18.3 million in initial funding to support a consortium of 8 health care provider organizations with a presence in 16 states.

Henry Ford has led the consortium since 2017. The renewed award allows participation to continue until at least 2028. The multimillion-dollar multi-year award represents the largest NIH research grant in Henry Ford's 108-year history.

All of Us aims to change the one-size-fits-all approach to medicine by engaging at least one million people who reflect the diversity of the United States. Participants contribute a range of health information to help researchers accelerate findings for treatments, prevention, and diagnosis that can be more tailored to individuals. Participants who join All of Us can choose to receive personal health-related genetic information at no cost, that could help guide their health care journeys.

We are proud to be leaders in this effort that is revolutionizing health care research. This tremendous award from NIH is a testament to our team's passion and commitment to identifying ways to prevent and understand disease, develop new treatments, and address health care disparities for the people we serve here in Michigan and beyond."

Steven Kalkanis, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer at Henry Ford Health

All of Us participants can choose to receive health-related DNA results that provide insight into their genetic ancestry, traits, a possible risk for developing serious health conditions, and how their body might react to certain medicines. Participants have access to genetic counselors at no cost and can choose to share their health information with their providers.

"I'm looking forward to working with my doctors to use my health-related DNA research results," said Randee Bloom, a 68-year-old All of Us Research Program participant from West Bloomfield, Michigan.

Participants like Bloom contribute their DNA for use in a secure cloud based All of Us data platform, which can be accessed by registered researchers. The data participants share with the program, and ultimately researchers, does not contain a participant's name or other information that could directly identify them.

"I feel that by contributing my data to the program, I'm doing my part to help advance medical research," Bloom said.

Unlike research studies that focus on one disease or group of people, the All of Us dataset is being used by more than 8,000 researchers, including 125 in Michigan, to inform thousands of studies on a variety of health conditions.

"Using the All of Us database, researchers are discovering new methods and medicines that will benefit people from diverse backgrounds, geographies, and ancestries," said Christine Johnson, Ph.D, MPH, chair of Henry Ford's Department of Public Health Sciences and one of the lead scientists on the All of Us Research Program at Henry Ford Health.

Henry Ford leads a consortium of health care provider organizations that represent diverse communities across the United States, including Baylor Scott & White Health; Essentia Health; HealthPartners; University of Massachusetts and Reliant Medical Group; Corewell Health; St. Louis University and SSM Heath; and Kaiser Permanente Northwest. The consortium has enrolled one of the program's largest and most diverse groups of participants in the nation.

By recruiting a diverse group of participants in the program, our consortium is ensuring medical scientists can detect more uncommon or unusual variations that affect health and disease, which will be helpful for all people."

Brian K. Ahmedani, Ph.D, director of the Center for Health Policy & Health Services Research at Henry Ford Health and lead scientist on the program

Researchers at Henry Ford have utilized the All of Us dataset in multiple studies, including research around the prevalence of multiple sclerosis and what demographics it affects; the prevalence of opioid use and its association with sociodemographic characteristics; and which genes are connected to hidradenitis suppurativa, a chronic and painful skin condition. The team at Henry Ford Health has also utilized the data to better understand participants' willingness to share health information with the program itself.

"We are excited to be able to continue to offer our communities an easy way to become part of a cutting-edge research program," said Cathryn Peltz, Ph.D, one of Henry Ford's lead scientists on the program. "It's the chance to make a difference in not only their own health but that of future generations."

To learn more about Henry Ford Health's role in the program, or to participate, visit: henryford.com/joinallofus.

The All of Us Research Program at Henry Ford Health is funded by the National Institutes of Health award OT2OD036429.

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