A Message from the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences

Dec 1, 2016

I’m excited to share some important updates about the Precision Medicine Initiative® Cohort Program. As you know, the UA Health Sciences and Banner Health were awarded $4 million from the National Institutes of Health to participate in this groundbreaking program. The award, which totals $43.3 million over five years, is the largest NIH peer-reviewed grant in Arizona history. Through our participation, we will shape the future of health care for Arizona and beyond!

The Goal

The program’s goal is to enroll 1 million U.S. participants to improve prevention and treatment of disease based on individual differences in lifestyle, environment and genetics. The UA/Banner Health team's goal is to enroll 150,000 participants over the next five years in the Southwest region, Alaska and Wyoming. FAQs can be found here.

We are the program’s only Healthcare Provider Organization enrolling through a single health-care delivery system. Initial enrollment sites will include Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, Banner – UMC South, Banner – UMC Phoenix, Banner Desert Medical Center and Banner Estrella Medical Center. Banner Boswell and Banner Thunderbird will be online shortly following the launch.

Launch Date

We are working closely with NIH to ensure a smooth launch for this historic program in early 2017.

National Updates

  • The Precision Medicine Initiative® Cohort Program will now be called the All of Us Research Program to convey the inclusivity and openness that are hallmarks of precision medicine research.
  • Principal Investigator Dr. Lolu Ojo, associate vice president of clinical research and global health initiatives for UA Health Sciences, is the co-chair of the National Protocol Integration Workgroup and has been instrumental in driving the finalization of the national protocol. Co-Investigator Dr. Usha Menon, associate dean for research and global advances at the UA College of Nursing, is the co-chair of the National Engagement and Communications Workgroup leading efforts to ensure that participant and community voices are present and involved in national decisions for this landmark initiative.
  • National workgroups with UA and Banner representatives continue to move through the development and testing of participant technology systems, data repositories, and policies surrounding the scientific vision and access to data.

Local Updates

  • We have assembled a deeply talented group of coordinators who will be deployed to enrollment sites and engaged in community outreach upon program launch. We are supporting the production of program materials and surveys in Spanish, and local public awareness videos are in development with UAHS, Banner Health and community members.
  • As I mentioned at the “State of the UA Health Sciences” presentation a few weeks ago, we have the tools to bring all of this together. We were the first site in the country to test the biospecimen collection process in a series of dry runs that concluded successfully in mid-November. In addition, we have successfully completed every Electronic Health Records “data sprint” requested by NIH to demonstrate our capacity and capability to securely send data in the required format. Kudos to the UAHS Biobank and Biomedical Informatics teams for leading these efforts!  
  • Instrumental to our joint relationship and infrastructure development has been the leadership of Eric Reiman, MD, executive director of Banner Research and Principal Investigator; Andy Theodorou, MD, chief clinical education officer with Banner – University Medicine and co-investigator; and Kathy Bollinger, executive vice president of Banner – University Medicine. Many thanks to the entire Banner Health team for their enthusiastic participation in this major undertaking.

This program is for all of us. Please share this information with others and contact our team at precisionmedicine@email.arizona.edu to schedule a presentation to learn more.

Thank you for your support!

Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, MD
UA Senior Vice President for Health Sciences
Dr. Merlin K. DuVal Professor of Medicine