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New Mexico VA Health Care System

 

All of Us Research Program Visits The NMVAHCS

Researchers pose for a picture inside the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center Lobby

Senior Engagement Mgr. Fatima Shahzad, Research Assistant, Annie Porter, VA Director, All of Us Program, Sherilyn Sawyer, Project Mgr. Patricia Levesque and Veteran participant, Oliver Robinson

By Ron Bassford, NMVAHCS Public Affairs Specialist
Thursday, January 24, 2019

The All of Us Research Program visited the Raymond Murphy VA Medical Center from Jan.14 through Jan.18, as part of a nationwide research program that gathers information to help researchers learn how to fit the right treatments to the right people.

 All of Us Research Program/Senior Engagement Manager, Fatima Shahzad, worked with a small research team from the VA All of Us Research Program Coordinating Center, based in Boston, MA and Palo Alto, CA, and they were able to recruit many Veterans throughout their week stay in Albuquerque with great turnout. “By the second day of recruiting eligible participants, we were above our goal and this is a tribute to all of the work that took place behind the scenes, working with NMVAHCS, before our research team arrived,” said Shahzad.

 The All of Us Research Program's national launch was on May 6, 2018. The VA currently has 2 vanguard enrollment sites running in Boston, MA and Palo Alto, CA with several more scheduled to launch around the country in 2019. The partnership with the Raymond Murphy VA Medical Center was the first time that the research program has conducted an enrollment event to reach Veteran communities around the country. "The event was immensely successful, enrolling over 70 Veterans into the program in just 1 week. Our team is dedicated to enrolling Veterans because they represent a vital facet of the rich diversity of the United States that the All of Us Research Program is looking to include to further biomedical research for all Americans,” said Sherilyn Sawyer, Ph.D, Director of the VA All of Us Research Program.

 By visiting the All of Us Research Program team at the NMVAHCS, Veterans had a chance to learn more about the program and then choose to enroll into the research study. “The goal is to have one million people to join the All of Us Research Program. People who join will share information about their health, habits, and what it’s like where they live. By looking for patterns in this information, researchers may learn more about what affects people’s health. The All of Us Research Program will last for 10 years or more. This will allow researchers to study health over time,” said Shahzad.

 The All of Us Journey is a traveling educational experience that has activities that will help Veterans learn about precision medicine, research, and the All of Us Research program. "This is a mobile exhibit that travels to educate people on precision medicine. The goal is to enter underrepresented communities and give everyone an opportunity for a voice — including Veterans,” said Luis Astacio of the All of Us Journey

 When asked to reflect on a special memory that stood out during their week stay in Albuquerque, Shahzad said, “A Veteran shared this with me that he was solidly behind this particular study and stated that Veterans are people who never want to stop serving. It was a special moment where the VA All of Us team encountered what we often do, which is the willingness of Veterans to give back in one way or another, and the embodiment of our purpose - to make sure Veterans are represented in this very important national research program.”

 For more information about the All of US Research program please visit: joinallofus.org or call 833-805-0426.

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