Underrepresented Arizonans taking part in medical studies to improve medical care for all communities

A nationwide research program reaches a new milestone as 50,000 Arizonans signed up to take part in helping to find new ways to medically treat people, not only based on their conditions, but also on their genetic backgrounds and communities.

"The reason we see increased disease in many communities has nothing to do with genetics, but has much more to do with racial disparities and education and income level common in the United States," said Eric Reiman, MD, with the University of Arizona and Banner Health "All of Us" Research Program.

The "All of Us" program is a collaborative national effort to provide a shared resource of data and biological samples from a million people, including those from traditionally underrepresented groups.

The goal is to "transform healthcare in the future and personalize new discoveries, new treatments and information about how people will be treated based not only on their condition but on their background, their genetic and non-genetic risk factors and other factors in general," Reiman says.

Victor Avila, a participant, shares his experience, saying, "When I learned about the study and what they were doing, I thought that it was very important as a minority myself both being a gay Latino, a lot of the studies that are conducted, or not, are under-represented and so with this study, where they’re collecting DNA samples and data from minorities such as myself, I think it’s just so important to be represented in medical studies."

The program aims to build the largest and most diverse database of its kind with the goal of enrolling between 75,000 and 100,000 individuals in Arizona over the next 10 years.

Related Stories:

Tune in to FOX 10 Phoenix for the latest news: