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National Institutes of Health looks for research participants in Spokane

All of Us at WSU Spokane
Doug Nadvornick/Spokane Public Radio
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The agency brings its "All of Us" outreach exhibit to the WSU Spokane campus.

A team from the National Institutes of Health is in Spokane this week, signing up volunteers for its huge federal research database.

The All of Us program wants to add another million people to its research registry.

“Our goal is to create the largest database so researchers can have access to it, but at the same time, we are helping the participants learn more about their DNA," said All of Us research manager Reuben Campino.

The program is about a third of the way to its goal. Health researchers from around the country can pull information and, potentially, research subjects from that database for their own studies.

Campino says most of the people in that research database are white, so All of Us is looking to diversify its demographics.

“There’s a very big need, number one, for representation. As we know, the U.S. is very diverse, but we don’t have that representation, so we need to be able to improve that. And number two, we are aiming toward a better future in precision medicine," he said.

Precision medicine aims to personalize the way doctors treat disease, using a person’s specific DNA and body information.

People who agree to become part of the research registry will fill out questionnaires and give blood and other bio samples that will be analyzed, with the results added to the federal database. They agree to be contacted by researchers to potentially participate in studies anytime over the next several years.

The participants also have the option of receiving their DNA results to find out more about their individual medical profiles.

If you’re interested in participating, you can go to the WSU Spokane campus by Friday afternoon or visit the program's website to make an appointment.