The University of Arizona Health Sciences-Banner Health has received the largest National Institute of Health (NIH) grant award in the state’s history. The $60 million, five-year award will fund the university’s All of Us Research Program, which will include Hispanic/Latino and American Indian/Alaskan Native participants and communities.
Launched in May, the program is tied to a national study of one million participants. The goal is to build one of the world's largest databases for precision health care. With the collected data, researchers will seek to:
- Develop ways to measure risk for a range of diseases based on environment, genetics and lifestyle.Identify causes of individual differences in response to commonly used drugs.
- Discover biological markers that signal risks of developing common diseases.
- Provide information to participants that can help improve their own health.
“The All of Us Research Program will change the way we do research,” NIH Director Dr. Francis S. Collins stated in a university UA News press release. “Participants will be partners in research, not subjects, and will have access to a wide range of study results. What we’re doing with the All of Us Research Program is intersecting with other fundamental changes in medicine and research to empower Americans to live healthier lives.”
In 2016, the university was awarded $4 million for the NIH Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program with the promise of $43.3 million over five years. When the grant was renewed in March 2018, it transitioned to the All of Us Research Program, resulting in the new $60 million award. This gives the university nearly $12 million per year through 2023, depending upon progress and the availability of NIH funds.
“The unique demographics of Arizona present unparalleled opportunities for research in precision health related to and in partnership with Hispanic, American Indian and aging populations and communities,” Dr. Akinlolu Aho, principal investigator, explained in the May news story.
Dr. Ojo is associate vice president for clinical research and global health initiatives at the University of Arizona Health Sciences and professor of medicine in the UA College of Medicine. In addition, he supervises five active clinical and translational research programs totaling more than $25 million from NIH. He has also received more than $70 million in funding at the University of Michigan.
Other principal investigators are Dr. Andreas Theodorou, chief clinical education officer for Banner Health, and Dr. Eric M. Reiman, executive director of Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, chief executive officer for Banner Research and UA professor of psychiatry.
Banner Health, a national non-profit health system, merged with the University of Arizona Health Network in 2016, creating Banner-University Medical Group. Banner is investing nearly $1 billion in new clinics and hospital towers in Tucson and Phoenix, including a $179 million emergency department that opened in July 2017. Scheduled to open in late 2018 is a $239 million patient tower and a $50 million clinical space near the existing facility.
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