Sam Houston State University’s School of Nursing and the Newton Gresham Library will host an informational meeting about a research program Monday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The meeting will be in the LSC White Ballroom and light lunch will be provided.
The meeting will be about the All of Us Research program, a nationwide effort to gather data from one million or more people in the United States. The goal of the research is to take into account differences in environment, lifestyle, socioeconomic status and biology to have a more accurate look at precision medicine.
“I think one of the things that we’re really interested in getting out there is, here’s how your genetic information can help future generations with guiding treatments and pharmaceutical developments and the things that will help people get better treatment and hopefully live longer, more fruitful lives,” Associate Dean of the College of Health Sciences Ryan Zapalac said.
The meeting will be completely educational, and no attendees are required to commit to anything at the meeting. The goal is to educate SHSU students about the All of Us research.
“They’re going to give out more about what the All of Us program is about, what the NIH (National Institutes of Health) is doing to protect participants information, because everybody is always worried about hacking of databases and things like that,” Clinical Associate Professor Kelly Zinn said.
“They’re going to learn about that and how it will help or impact their own health and the benefits for them as an individual who chooses to participate.”
Those who choose to participate in the research can expect to get some benefits in return.
“What it does, is it can give you a report of medications that work, don’t work, kind of will work for you for different health conditions,” Zinn said. “It allows doctors and nurse practitioners and prescribers to individualize the care that a patient receives. That’s really the goal of All of Us.”
The SHSU School of Nursing was awarded a grant from the American Association of Colleges of Nurses (AACN) to educate students, faculty and community members about the research.
A main reason for SHSU being awarded the grant was the outstanding diversity of students.
“The big thing that I did was that I shared that our student body is 49% ethnic diversity,” Zinn said. “So, the AACN told us that was why they chose us. Because Sam Houston is a rural community college, with students that come from lots of rural communities, but also lots of students from the Houston area.”
The All of Us Research program is part of the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), which is an effort to help researchers and healthcare providers help develop individualized medicine.
“The goal of this Precision Medicine Initiative is to increase the diversity of the pool of genetic information that researchers can research from,” Assistant Professor Lisa Connor said. “Because it’s government funded, all that research will be available to researchers even at Sam Houston, anywhere across the country, people will be able to access the data coming out of this program.”
For those unable to make it to the Monday meeting, another meeting will be held on Tuesday at Lone Star College in their Montgomery Theatre. Light refreshments will be provided there.
Each meeting includes a Q&A and quick surveys both before and after the event.
“The potential is there for us to do research, but just to be crystal clear, the grant was only to provide an educational event,” Connor said. “We’re only providing an arena for representatives from the AACN to come in and present information about this program. We’re not requiring anyone to sign up, this program is totally voluntary.”
For more information on the All of Us Research program, visit allofus.nih.gov or visit one of the two meetings.