All of Us Research Funds Outreach Efforts to Tribal Communities

Sept. 26, 2023
Awards totaling $1.5 million have been made to the University of Arizona, the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute in Wisconsin, and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society

The National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program announced three awards totaling $1.5 million to institutions partnering with American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) and Indigenous communities to advance health equity and precision medicine.

The awards have been made to the University of Arizona, the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute in Wisconsin, and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES). The awards will support outreach and engagement with Tribal and Indigenous communities, strengthen the research infrastructure supporting AI/AN researchers, and broaden the base of researchers conducting cultural and ethical research with Tribal communities. Additional funding opportunities are still available through May 2025.

All of Us recently announced that more than 700,000 participants have completed primary consent, and 80 percent of those identify with communities underrepresented in health research.

“These collaborations are part of a long journey to co-create an environment of trust and to advance with Tribal communities on our shared goals of delivering a healthier future,” said Karriem Watson, D.H.Sc., M.S., M.P.H., All of Us chief engagement officer, in a statement

The awardees will lead several new efforts to engage AI/AN and Indigenous communities and researchers:

  • The University of Arizona team will develop a Community Readiness Assessment tool to support a long-term strategic plan for continued Tribal engagement. The partnership will offer insights into Tribes’ and other community partners’ readiness and interest in participation in the All of Us Research Program. The team will collaborate with a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) composed of Tribal and AI/AN urban center leaders, traditional healers, healthcare executives, and content experts.
  • The Marshfield Clinic Research Institute team will co-develop long-term collaborative partnerships with Wisconsin Tribal representatives, including urban Indian communities in Milwaukee. The award also aims to expand medical research within AI/AN communities by providing training opportunities and expanding the AI/AN-led precision medicine research infrastructure. 
  • The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), a national nonprofit focused on increasing representation of Indigenous peoples in science, will design a multi-media outreach campaign “We Are All Scientists” to promote health research with Indigenous students, and to increase opportunities and support career enhancement pathways for students, educators, and research scientists.

“We’re committed to working together to make All of Us an inclusive program that benefits AI/AN and Indigenous participants and their communities,” said Michael Hahn, All of Us Tribal Engagement and Outreach Branch Chief, in a statement. “Through these awards, we aim to build more partnerships with Tribal communities, elevate the diverse perspectives of Indigenous people to guide program plans, and ultimately enable more research about Indigenous health by Indigenous researchers.”

These awards are an extension of the program’s ongoing Tribal engagement activities, which also include formal Tribal Consultations and information sessions. On September 28, 2023, All of Us will host its next consultation online to receive feedback from Tribal leaders on program initiatives. The virtual meeting will include an update on Tribal engagement activities and overall program plans, as well as a discussion on the integration of data from self-identified AI/AN participants into the program's data platform, the All of Us Research Hub.