All of Us Research Program Funding Drops 34 Percent

May 6, 2024
Funding cut will lead to a decrease in the rate of new enrollments, a delay in the launch of pediatric enrollment, and a slowing of new data collection

The 6-year-old All of Us Research Program is facing a 34 percent decrease in funding from the 21st Century Cures Act for the 2024 fiscal year.  

The program is an effort to gather genomic and health data from 1 million or more people of widely diverse backgrounds for research purposes. Vanderbilt University Medical Center  leads its Data and Research Center.

All of Us received $357 million for this fiscal year, representing a decrease of $184 million (34%) compared to last year’s appropriation. In a blog post, Josh Denny, M.D., the program’s CEO, said the cut will mean a reduction in most program awards, which will result in several impacts: a decrease in the rate of new enrollments, a delay in the launch of pediatric enrollment, and a slowing of new data collection.

A story in the publication Science noted that overall, All of Us expects to lose about 600 of 3,000 full-time positions, largely “front-line staff” involved in recruitment. This year’s enrollment will likely drop to “30% to 40% of what it would have been,” Denny told the publication.

In his blog post, Denny said the program would maintain momentum to build on its many accomplishments to date, and he listed several of them:
• Over 790,000 people across the United States and its territories have joined the program to drive new discoveries. 
• Of the more than 540,000 volunteers who have completed the program’s initial steps, including sharing core data and samples for analysis, 87% are part of communities that were often left out of research in the past (including underrepresented racial and ethnic populations, LGBTQI+ communities, residents of rural areas and those with less access to care, individuals with disabilities, and other groups).
• More than 10,000 researchers from over 750 organizations have signed up for data access. More than 85% of these researchers are from groups that are historically underrepresented in the biomedical workforce, providing further testament to the program's reach. 

Despite the funding issues, Denny said that the program is committed to launching pediatric enrollment as soon as possible. “We aim to add data linkages to provide more comprehensive information about environmental factors, clinical care, and more. And we see tremendous opportunities to forge new partnerships through additional studies built on top of our core protocol, like the Nutrition for Precision Health Study supported by the NIH Common Fund. In this way, the All of Us infrastructure can be leveraged by partners for novel research, while they help expand our dataset for the broader scientific community.”

Future drops in Cures funding will be even more significant in FY2025 and FY2026, after which that stream of funding is set to expire, Denny added. “The President’s FY2025 budget request is $541 million for the program, which includes planned Cures funding. While our budget circumstances are causing us to make adjustments to our immediate plans, our commitment to our participants and the protection of their data remains unwavering, and our motivation to continue advancing precision medicine and health equity is stronger than ever.”

 

 

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