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Farrar Edwards speaks with WISC about groundbreaking All of Us project

February 07, 2019

UW-Madison’s Dorothy Farrar Edwards and Tricia Denman were recently featured on WISC-TV/Ch. 3's “For the Record” program to discuss the ongoing All of Us research project. 

Farrar Edwards, who is helping lead the historic project, is a professor with the School of Education’s Department of Kinesiology. She also is a professor in the Department of Medicine with the School of Medicine and Public Health. Denman is the All of Us project manager.

Farrar Edwards and Denman on For the RecordThe mission of All of Us, which is one year underway, is to compile a representative medical database that will become a public resource. The group especially hopes to reach underrepresente groups to gain a better understanding of their health. Farrar Edwards tells "For the Record" that this is not only a medical research project, but an endeavor to engage the community and "de-mystify" the research process.

Currently, the project is based in Wisconsin, but the plan is to expand the project across the nation. Farrar Edwards and Denman comment on the potential of the research, expressing the various individual health questions that could be answered. Farrar Edwards offers an example from her own life, suggesting that knowing her health history would help her and her children understand their risk for certain diseases.

They take into account various factors to answer big questions, like social, economic, environmental, and physical determinants of health. Farrar Edwards remarks on the modern capability to be able to analyze these fields, as the technology that allows it was recently not available.

Another unique component of All of Us is the way the project engages participants. Participants can link their Fitbit to the participant portal, which allows All of Us to get a deeper health profile. Participants will also be able to access their records, allowing them to better understand their personal health. They hope to engage participants over a 10-year span to monitor change in the data. 

Watch the entire "For the Record" report on this Channel3000.com web page

To learn more about the All of Us research project, check out this UW-Madison web page. According to the website, "creating the right health approaches and care for the right person is called precision medicine. Getting the right information to make that happen is the goal of the All of Us Research Program."

The project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. To ​reach its goals, the program is looking to create the largest health database ever. By understanding people’s health, neighborhood, family, and lifestyle researchers will have information to better understand health and disease.
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